Viewpoints: Romney’s Gamble; The Return Of ‘Mediscare;’ Klein And Roy Offer Competing Views On Differences In Ryan, Obama Plans
The Washington Post: Mitt Romney Chose Paul Ryan To Shift The Campaign Debate; Will The Gamble Pay Off?
It doesn't take a political genius to see where the contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney is heading. With Rep. Paul Ryan on the Republican ticket, the campaign is looking at a full-throated debate over the future of Medicare. Are Romney and Ryan ready? (Dan Balz, 8/13).
The Washington Post: The Dangerous Myths At The Heart Of Political Parties' Fiscal Policies
The Romney-Ryan approach fails to acknowledge the level of revenue required to sustain even the smaller government the candidates envision. The population is aging, and even with entitlement reform, health care costs will continue to grow. The world remains a dangerous place, which is why Mr. Romney says defense spending should consume 4 percent of gross domestic product. Yet the Congressional Budget Office has found Mr. Ryan's plan would whittle spending on everything but Social Security, health programs and interest on the debt to less than that. The country cannot afford to continue all the Bush tax cuts, at a cost of some $5 trillion over the next decade, let alone pile on trillions more from Mr. Romney's cuts (8/13).
The Wall Street Journal: The Forgotten History Of Ryan's Medicare Reform
In 2008, amid the poverty of ambition of the late Bush presidency, Mr. Ryan released "A Roadmap for America's Future," a 71-page document that was the first plan in years to take arithmetic seriously. The then-obscure Wisconsin congressman dropped by the Journal to sell his vision, no press secretary, no handlers. "I want to be the Paul Revere of the fisc," he said, according to my notes from the meeting. Mr. Ryan knew as everyone who knows the budget knows that the federal balance sheet can't be improved by zeroing out foreign aid to Mozambique and arts funding for off-off-off Broadway plays. Medicare is such a large share of spending, and growing so much faster than any other item, that fiscal reform must include the popular entitlement (Joseph Rago, 8/13).
The Wall Street Journal: Mediscare: The Sequel
It's the worst-kept secret in Washington that the Obama campaign and liberal Super Pacs are set to dust off those "Mediscare" TV ads showing Paul Ryan tossing grandma over the cliff. These attack campaigns are designed to undermine Republican plans to curtail the stampeding costs of Medicare. The ads have worked for Democrats in the past. It first started back in 1995 during the Newt Gingrich era when President Bill Clinton stymied GOP budget balancing plans (Stephen Moore, 8/13).
The New York Times: Let The Real Debate Begin
On the one hand, talk about limiting the federal government and shrinking the deficit has been central to Republican rhetoric for years. On the other hand, historically, most Republicans haven't really meant it. George W. Bush, for instance, pushed for a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients that added an estimated $300 billion to the federal deficit -- not to mention two budget-busting wars. Ryan, however, means it (Joe Nocera, 8/13).
The New York Times: Paul Ryan's Fairy Tale Budget Plan
Mr. Ryan showed his conservative mettle in 2008 when he folded like a lawn chair on the auto bailout and the Wall Street bailout. But the greater hypocrisy is his phony "plan" to solve the entitlements mess by deferring changes to social insurance by at least a decade. A true agenda to reform the welfare state would require a sweeping, income-based eligibility test, which would reduce or eliminate social insurance benefits for millions of affluent retirees. Without it, there is no math that can avoid giant tax increases or vast new borrowing. Yet the supposedly courageous Ryan plan would not cut one dime over the next decade from the $1.3 trillion-per-year cost of Social Security and Medicare (David A. Stockman, 8/13).
The New York Times: Saving Private Ryan
The Romney gamble is huge because the line of Democrat attack against him and Ryan is so clear: They are the heartless would-be destroyers of Medicare, the health insurance program for retirees … and Medicaid; and they are the architects of a massive redistribution of income from bottom to top at a time when the top … is doing just fine. … The shape of the Republican counter-attack is equally apparent: Obama ... has no serious plan to stop Americans living on borrowed money. The economy is stalled, unemployment high. The country, to quote Clint Eastwood’s endorsement of Romney, "needs a boost." Behind this battleground a mountain stands. It is composed of debt (Roger Cohen, 8/13).
Los Angeles Times: Seniors Would Pay The Price Of Ryan's Plan To Overhaul Medicare
We've been hearing -- and will continue to hear -- a lot about how Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid would cripple the safety-net health care programs. Fair criticism? The answer, as Bill Clinton might say, depends on what your definition of "cripple" is (David Lazarus, 8/13).
The Washington Post: The Republican Ticket's Big Medicare Myth
Ryan's budget -- which Romney has endorsed -- keeps Obama's cuts to Medicare, and both Ryan and Obama envision the same long-term spending path for Medicare. The difference between the two campaigns is not in how much they cut Medicare, but in how they cut Medicare (Ezra Klein, 8/13)!
Forbes: Yes, Obamacare Cuts Medicare More Than President Romney Would
I've long argued the same thing: that the way to understand the difference between Ryancare and Obamacare is not in the scale of the cuts to Medicare, which are roughly similar, but in the competing mechanisms used in reform (Avik Roy, 8/13).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: A Welcome Change In The Campaign
Many Medicare overhaul proposals -- such as Ryan's -- call for protecting those age 55 and older from any changes. This makes sense politically, since seniors are a mighty bloc of voters. But is it the fair thing to do? So far, few have asked that question, but it needs to be aired, particularly with Ryan in the race (8/13).
Modern Healthcare: Ryan Will Make Medicare Key Issue In Campaign
GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate sent a clear signal that Medicare will be a major issue in this presidential election, and President Barack Obama's remarks Sunday indicate he got the message. Ryan, the 42-year-old chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, is the chief architect of a budget plan that made headlines in 2011 and 2012 for proposing a massive overhaul to the Medicare program (Zigmond, 8/13).
And on other topics --
San Francisco Chronicle: Medicaid Expansion Can Lift Health Care
States do not have to be forced to board a runaway Medicaid budget whose brakes have failed. By combining Medicaid expansion with federal funding designed to reward innovations in health care delivery, states can better manage care, improve the health of more of their residents and reduce costs. ... In 2010, the federal government approved a waiver for California that helped it to expand access to health care for the poor while improving the quality of care in safety-net hospitals. To help counties take advantage of this waiver, the foundation where I work made funds available to expand health insurance coverage to low-income adults. In the program's first nine months, more than 360,000 previously uninsured Californians gained health care coverage (Peter Long, 8/10).
San Jose Mercury News: Health Care Reform Needs Local Plans
Federal health care reform goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, but it won't be as simple as flipping a switch. State officials must take a number of steps to ensure the system works as intended, getting as many people as possible into affordable coverage. While the state took a huge step forward in 2010 by creating the California Health Benefits Exchange, ensuring that lower-income Californians will be able to afford basic benefits remains an unanswered challenge. That's why it's vital that California put in place a piece of President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as the Basic Health Plan (John Ramey, 8/13).
Georgia Health News: A Simple, Fair Way To Reduce Health Costs
A study commissioned by Patients for Fair Compensation, released in July, showed that Georgia's economy could save $8 billion in health care costs annually if we eliminated the practice of defensive medicine within our borders. That is an astounding figure that should give pause to our governor and lawmakers as they brace for some more tough decisions about future budgets and budget cutting (Richard Jackson, 8/13).