Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quote of the Day

“While others stick their fingers in the wind to see what the election results from last night mean for their support of the Ryan Plan, I remain steadfast in my support. In fact, my only complaint with the Path to Prosperity Plan is that it does not go far enough, fast enough, to address Washington’s unsustainable spending."

Adam Hasner, on the Paul Ryan plan.

I hope the DSCC remembers this quote. As Digby pointed out, Ryan's plan to make Medicare a voucher program is extremely unpopular with seniors. The Congression Budget Office letter to Ryan gives good reason for people not to support the plan.

To summarize, a typical beneficiary would spend more for health care under the proposal than under CBO’s long-term scenarios for several reasons. First, private plans would cost more than traditional Medicare because of the net effect of differences in payment rates for providers, administrative costs, and utilization of health care services, as described above. Second, the government’s contribution would grow more slowly than health care costs, leaving more for beneficiaries to pay.

If you are a senior or have a pre-existing condition, good luck trying to get private health insurance without insurance companies being required to cover you. Which is what the CBO tells Ryan.

Future developments under the proposal might be quite different from those under CBO’s long-term scenarios. Private insurers would have flexibility—to limit benefits, change co-payment arrangements, manage utilization, and control provider
networks—that does not exist in traditional Medicare, and such steps could serve as
alternatives to limiting payments to providers in restraining health care costs and
insurance premiums. But the significant increase in payments by Medicare beneficiaries under the proposal might also affect the quality of care that they would obtain. For example, beneficiaries’ greater cost-sensitivity could result in a slower introduction or less frequent use of new, costly, but possibly beneficial, technologies and techniques than would occur under current law. Instead, technological innovation might focus increasingly on cost-saving rather than cost-increasing technologies.

Former Reagan budget director David Stockman ripped Ryan's budget. Stockman said that Ryan's budget "does not cut one dime from the debt" in the next 3 years. Gene Sterling, National Economic Council Director, noted how Ryan's budget was based more on ideology than reality.

“I want to point out how isolated the House Republicans are,” he said. “Serious people doing serious discussions do not take an absolutists position that you cannot have a penny of revenue.”

He said Mr. Ryan has “put himself in a box” with his unwillingness to raise tax revenue. He said this forced Republicans to call for “very severe cuts” that if “explored” by Americans “they would not be proud of.”

Mr. Sperling attacked the House Republican proposals to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid, saying that the $770 billion in savings Republicans wanted from changing Medicaid would be unneccessary if Republicans would agree to roll back certain tax cuts.

“You can’t say to anybody who would be affected by that, that we have to do that, that we have no choice,” he said. “The fact is that all of those savings would be unnecessary if you were not funding the high income tax cuts.”

If Hasner wants to make Ryan's plan the centerpiece of his campaign then Bill Nelson will have an easy general election.

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