NEW YORK TIMES: DEAN HELLER’S PLAN TO END MEDICARE PANNED BY HIS OWN REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES
Republican Candidates From Coast To Coast Agree That
Heller/Ryan Budget Would Devastate Seniors
New TV Ad From MT GOP Senate Candidate Rehberg:
“Rehberg Refused To Support A Republican Budget Plan That Could Harm
The Medicare Programs So Many Of Montana’s Seniors Rely On”
Op-Ed from MA Senator Scott Brown on Heller/Ryan Plan:
“The Elderly Will Be Forced To Pay Ever Higher Deductibles And Co-Pays”
Las Vegas – Today, the Nevada State Democratic Party is criticizing the Dean Heller plan to end Medicare as we know by using unlikely sources – his own Republican colleagues. A recent New York Times article points out that Republican candidates from coast to coast are rushing to distance themselves from Heller’s plan to end Medicare.
Republican Montana Senate candidate Dennis Rehberg released a television ad, paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Montana Republican Party. The ad states that “Rehberg refused to support a Republican budget plan that could harm the Medicare programs so many of Montana’s seniors rely on.” (Yea, Rehberg, the same guy who voted against returning Veterans Benefits)
Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown wrote an opinion piece for Politico.com to explain why the Heller plan was unacceptable to him. Brown wrote, “I fear that as health inflation rises, the cost of private plans will outgrow the government premium support — and the elderly will be forced to pay ever higher deductibles and co-pays. Protecting those who have been counting on the current system their entire adult lives should be the key principle of reform.”
And in 2011, Republican Congressman David McKinley told a reporter that “My home state of West Virginia has the highest percentage of Medicare beneficiaries in the country, and I cannot support a plan that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined would nearly double out-of-pocket healthcare costs for future retirees.”
“Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much these days, but both sides now concur that Senator Dean Heller’s scheme to end Medicare by turning the program over to profit-hungry insurance companies would be devastating for seniors across the country,” said Zach Hudson, Nevada State Democratic Party spokesman. “Pretty soon, the only allies Senator Heller will have are the Wall Street banks and profit-hungry insurance companies he wants to turn Social Security and Medicare over to.”
New York Times: Republican Budget Plan Comes Under Fire From Unlikely Source: G.O.P. Candidates
June 22, 2012
Republican leaders in Congress had hoped to lay out big plans for 2013, then run for election in November united around that vision. But the vision itself is coming under attack from an unlikely and possibly potent source: Republican candidates.
Republicans wishing to assert their political independence in tough races have picked up Democratic talking points against the House-passed budget plan written by Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, especially the budget’s plan for Medicare.
This week, the Montana Republican Party began broadcasting advertisements on behalf of Representative Denny Rehberg, who is running for the Senate, touting his independence: “Rehberg refused to support a Republican budget plan that could harm the Medicare programs so many of Montana’s seniors rely on.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee transferred $50,000 to the Montana state party in April and May, according to campaign finance documents.
Mr. Rehberg did indeed vote against the Republican budget in March, one of only 10 Republicans to do so. Another no vote belonged to Representative David McKinley, a freshman who justified his vote to his constituents in explicit terms. A glossy mailer explained to West Virginians that “the plan would privatize Medicare for future retirees, raise the retirement age and keep in place the Medicare cuts included in last year’s health care bill. The Congressional Budget Office determined the plan would nearly double out-of-pocket healthcare costs for future retirees.”
That amounts to a double-whammy for other Republicans who voted for the Ryan plan. It picks up Democratic language on privatization, a word Republican leaders reject, and it makes a point that Republicans and their supporters fail to note when they attack Democrats for Medicare spending cuts in the 2010 health care law. The same cuts they are blasting in some of their most potent attack ads are retained in the Ryan plan they voted on, but are used for deficit reduction, not health insurance subsidies.
Mr. Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, stays away from the word “privatization,” instead calling his Medicare plan “premium support.” Under it, federal spending on Medicare would be capped. Future retirees would be offered a menu of private insurance plans and traditional Medicare, and would be offered an annual subsidy to help pay for the insurance they choose.
Senator Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts, another Republican asserting his political independence as he runs for re-election, wrote an opinion piece for Politico.com to explain why that was unacceptable to him: “I fear that as health inflation rises, the cost of private plans will outgrow the government premium support — and the elderly will be forced to pay ever higher deductibles and co-pays,” he wrote. “Protecting those who have been counting on the current system their entire adult lives should be the key principle of reform.”
Such attacks could complicate Mr. Ryan’s vision of a united Republican Party running on his transformative vision for federal entitlements, claiming a mandate, then carrying out his plan with a Republican in the White House. It also raises questions about the future of the Ryan plan.
Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, made it clear the party has another issue to run on: health care.
“Democrats should be more concerned with the unanimous opinion of House Republicans and a vast majority of Americans who believe Obamacare is raising health care costs and hurting the ability of small businesses to hire,” he said.
Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, said in a recent interview that much of the Republican budget plan could be done if the party takes control of the White House and the Senate through “reconciliation,” a parliamentary process that would thwart a Democratic filibuster and give the party the chance to pass its plans with a simple Senate majority.
But that simple majority counts on victories this fall by Mr. Rehberg in Montana and Mr. Brown in Massachusetts.
Rep. David McKinley: “I Cannot Support A Plan That The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Has Determined Would Nearly Double Out-Of-Pocket Healthcare Costs For Future Retirees.” In an April 2011 statement to Slate regarding his vote against the original Ryan Budget plan, Rep. David McKinley, R-WV, said, “My home state of West Virginia has the highest percentage of Medicare beneficiaries in the country, and I cannot support a plan that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined would nearly double out-of-pocket healthcare costs for future retirees. Unfortunately, Medicare is on a path to bankruptcy unless action is taken. However, I am not convinced that such a dramatic overhaul of benefits for future retirees is necessary to save the program.” [Slate, 4/19/11]