Krugman vs Vouchercare

Paul Krugman has been steadfast in his commitment to calling out the Republican plan to destroy Medicare in the Ryan budget for what it is: a plan to destroy Medicare and replace it with vouchers. The GOP has been pitching quite a hissy-fit since Krugman and many Democrats have started to correctly label their Vouchercare plan for what it is. But Krugman doesn’t back down and today’s column is a good look at exactly why the Ryan budget destroys Medicare and how calling the GOP Vouchercare plan Medicare is nonsense.

Towards the end of his column, Krugman turns towards Canada’s universal healthcare system (also called Medicare) as an example of what a genuinely improved version of our Medicare could look like by reducing waste and increasing efficiency. Krugman writes:

Canadian Medicare, then, looks sustainable; why can’t we do the same thing here? Well, you know the answer in the case of the Republicans: They don’t want to make Medicare sustainable, they want to destroy it under the guise of saving it.

One thing that could emerge (at least an a sane, alternative reality version of America) from the current fight over the Ryan budget’s destruction of Medicare and the wholesale voting of House Republicans in favor of this destruction is a debate about why Medicare works and why it needs to be expanded, not destroyed with vouchers. This, in turn, could actually open up the door for a policy debate that says, “Well if Medicare is this great for seniors, why don’t we expand Medicare to cover all Americans?” Of course there is no cohort of Democrats in federal elected office with any power who support this or would argue for it. But I’d love to hear the anti-Vouchercare crusading Democrats make a convincing argument against Medicare for All that doesn’t use the words “political capital,” though I doubt that’s possible.

DNC hits Gingrich, GOP ending Medicare litmus test

The literati at the DNC weigh into the Gingrich/Ryan kerfuffle and simultaneously make both Newt and every GOPer who thinks Gingrich was insufficiently obsequious to Ryan look nuts. Obviously this video is obviously a falsehood.

As Dan Pfieffer said on Twitter, “ending Medicare as we know it is the new GOP litmus test.”

Originally posted at AMERICAblog Elections: The Right’s Field

A Vulnerable Plan

What Digby said:

The plan is vulnerable on a number of fronts (not the least of which is the funding for the Medicaid expansion) and all we heard for months was “don’t worry, once you pass an ‘entitlement’ they’ll never be able to take it away.” And that was nonsense. With the plan taking years to implement, the right having packed the courts for decades and the Republican Party being batshit insane, there was always a very good chance that some element of the plan was going to be struck down. And because it was such a Rube Goldberg mess by the end of it, the result was likely to be the whole thing falling apart. Having something like an optional Medicare buy-in would have been a good back-up just in case. (After all, if they start invalidating Medicare, they know there will be hell to pay.)

All the Very Serious People also told us that the plan would be immediately “improved” and all the problems would be fixed once it was passed, so I suppose they could still add on a Public Option. I was just a teensy bit skeptical that they would even be able to defend the plan as it was, much less “fix” it, and I’m even more skeptical now. But who knows, maybe a miracle will happen.

The Modern Republican Party

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum:

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

Enter newly hatched CNN contributor, Erick “Son of Erick” Erickson:

The Republican leadership remains accommodationist and fearful of being labeled the ‘party of no.’

Let me be blunt: any Republican who says we will repeal and replace will themselves be replaced. We want repeal period.

This is not to say we will not offer up our own ideas, of which there are many. This is to say that right now there is no consensus on what to replace this monstrosity with, so instead of nuancing just promise to repeal it. We don’t need cute and clever politicians right now, we need a commitment to repeal Obamacare.

It looks like Erickson and his piece of the Republican Party want to double-down on the radicalism. Good luck with that!

If I had to guess, though, Frum is going to continue to be marginalized by increasingly establishment voices like Erickson. I don’t think the GOP will be able to tear themselves away from the Party of No and in fact will only increase their blind oppositionism to any and all things proposed by President Obama and the Democratic Party.

What Progressives Won

This post by Chris Bowers is really worth a read, especially as the wheels of “Rahm was right to shit on progressives” get going in the Beltway. The main point by Bowers:

It is factually untrue that progressives won no concessions in this bill. People are free to debate over whether the concessions are enough either to support the bill or to demonstrate increased influence, but it is simply untrue that they won nothing in return for their support.

The Cost of Inaction

This is an absolutely brilliant and powerful animated video from OFA.  It’s great stuff. Top notch. Wish we had it 9 or 12 months ago.

What makes it effective is that it is a top-level message about the need for reform, without addressing any specifics. No mention of the public option. No mention of individual mandates. No mention of either the Stupak or Nelson anti-choice language. Not shocking, but I certainly wonder what an OFA video that tried to explain more of the how and less of the why would look like.