NEWS BLOG: Romney, Ryan, Medicare, and risk

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER

I dunno; maybe some political reporters are sensing something I’m not.

I keep reading stories and blogs hinting that Mitt Romney has taken a risky – possibly fatal – step in choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate. The reason: Ryan’s hope to partially privatize Medicare.

In their Politico post this morning, for instance, Alexander Burns, Maggie Haberman, and Jonathan Martin say that they’ve interviewed more than three dozen “Republican strategists and campaign operatives.” And while those Republicans are putting a happy face on the Ryan selection, off the record, they say “Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right — and a huge chance of going horribly wrong,” Burns, Haberman, and Martin write.

Mitt Romney: Will Ryan selection hurt or help? PHOTO COURTESY DAVE DELAY

“They’re worried about inviting Medicare — usually death for Republicans — into the campaign,” the journalists write. “They’re worried it sidetracks the jobs issue. They’re worried he’ll expose the fact that Romney doesn’t have a budget plan. Most of all, they’re worried that Romney was on track to lose anyway — and now that feels all but certain.”

Maybe so. But I’m not so sure. Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare is crafty, and it’s cynical: He doesn’t want to change Medicare for anybody who’s getting it now. His change will affect people years in the future.

So seems to me that how voters in, say, Florida, react to the Ryan pitch (and to Obama’s scary ads attacking Ryan) will depend on how altruistic those voters are. If they believe everybody ought to be able to receive medical coverage when they’re old, they won’t like the Ryan plan. On the other hand, if their sentiment is more along the lines of “I’ve got mine…,” then Romney’s not taking much of a risk at all.

We shall see.

4 comments

  1. Rubbish. You’ve got it exactly backwards. If you care at all about your grandchildren, and want them to benefit from a modern system, and don’t want to saddle them with paying off your debts (or at least any more than you already have), then you support Romney. If you’ve got yours and could care less about future generations, then go ahead and parrot the usual mindless demagoguery and hysterical scaremongering that the Democrats always fall back on.

  2. j jongen · · Reply

    Rubbish indeed jam! Health insurance premiums are by definition payments made by all the insured ‘villagers’ to provide affordable benefits and protection to each individual villager. If that is not true then why are you willingly paying insurance premiums to protect your home, your car, and your life (future income)? That is not demagoguery and scaremongering; insurance is the ‘modern’ financial vehicle that protects the greatest number of participants at the lowest cost (barring corruption of course).

  3. Troll Whisperer · · Reply

    “Mindless demagoguery and hysterical scaremongering” . . . sounds like 2001-2009. Orange alert! Orange alert!

  4. H Oster · · Reply

    The specifics about this issue are virtually irrelevant, as Congress will refuse any major changes in Medi-care for political reasons. Of greater relevance is the way to pay for Medi-Care as it now exists, and Ryan-Romney have fatally flawed logic.

    Their major premise is that the wealth 2-3% of the population including corporations have the ability to create jobs. Therein lies the “rubbish.” If the wealthy were going to create jobs, they would already have done so. They already have most of the available cash, and are choosing to sit on it rather than spend it.

    How does Romney’s plan to allow them to keep even more cash provide any solution? The real crisis is the irrevocable transfer of ever greater wealth to the “aristocrats,” (if you consider persons such as Donald Trump to be aristocratic), under the Bush tax cuts. The only solution is real tax reform, and the only alternative is eventual repudiation of increasing debt.

    My only consolation, is that Ryan-Romney are revealing to intelligent Americans what a disingenuous policy they expound, and that the remaining 97% of the population, including most thoughtful and deserving Americans will vote their consciences.

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