Aaron Carroll gives voice to my frustration with the GOP ticket and Medicare plans**.
This time around, we’ve got a ton of proposals that contradict each other. There’s Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget (now abandoned). There’s Ryan-Wyden. There’s Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget (which Wyden doesn’t support). There’s Mitt Romney’s “plan“. And now there’s the Republican party platform.
So Medicare will both stay a defined benefit program and be saved by no longer being a defined benefit program. We will eliminate the $700+ billion in savings to the trust fund, yet extend its life. We will not cut any benefits, but will reduce Medicare spending dramatically. We will increase Medicare spending, but somehow not seniors’ premiums.
All of this could, of course, be explained by a few questions and some direct answers. In this election, though, I suspect neither are forthcoming.
Carroll is being more generous than the GOP deserves. I think it pretty clear that the abandoned 2012 plan is the plan actually preferred by Ryan, and those who support him. It was abandoned when they decided to compromise. If the support existed in Congress, it would become our new Medicare plan. Beyond that quibble, I am in agreement with Carroll. The plans not only contradict each other, they also, sometimes, have internal conflicts. As Carroll notes, this could all be cleared up with a few questions being answered. I do not think that will happen soon. Campaigning against Medicare cuts was a major factor in the GOP domination of the 2010 election. So, while everyone knows that Medicare spending must be cut, we can expect more attacks on the Medicare cuts in the ACA, while claiming that the GOP plan(s) will save Medicare by doing something. We just aren’t sure about what that something will be, or how it will work.
**Carroll has links to each of the plans on his post.