I've come to expect an amazing amount of Republican two-facedness after watching Mitt Romney, the GOP's annointed presidential nominee, change his position on just about everything (abortion, global warming, Iran, etc. etc.) to wild acclaim from the right-wing faithful.
But I have to give the Republicans credit. They've surpassed my expectations for GOP amnesiac hypocrisy by embracing a position on Medicare that, a mere month after the election, is exactly opposite to what Romney and Ryan campaigned on.
Remember all those Republican ads castigating Obama for his supposed $716 billion in Medicare cuts that Romney promised to restore to Medicare if he was elected?
Here's a memory jogger (which also shows how those ads were lies).
Now, though, John Boehner and other Republican leaders are furious at Obama for not cutting enough from Medicare. As part of a "fiscal cliff" deal, they're demanding $900 billion in entitlement spending -- Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, including increasing the eligibility age for Medicare.
Even more amazingly hypocritically, GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan has embraced in his new budget the exact same $716 billion in Medicare savings that Romney savaged Obama on during the campaign.
Mitt Romney’s Medicare budget might be fading away just as quickly as Romney himself.
During the campaign, candidate Romney repeatedly hammered President Obama for cutting $716 billion from Medicare as part of his signature healthcare law. Romney pledged to repeal those cuts in a break from his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Ryan, the House Budget Committee Chairman, had preserved Obama’s Medicare cuts in two consecutive budget proposals that repealed the rest of the Affordable Care Act. Ryan is now back at work crafting his next budget, and Republicans on his committee say the $716 billion in Medicare cuts will likely survive.
Hopefully senior voters (of which I am one) will remember this in succeeding elections. The current crop of Republicans in Washington can't be trusted on anything, especially entitlements. They talk one game during election season, then play another game the rest of the time.
Obama is absolutely doing the right thing in his new negotiating style. He's making Boehner, McConnell, et. al. lay out the exact entitlement cuts they want to inflict on Americans. And also detail how much they want to protect the rich while screwing over the middle class.
It's a new day, following the decisive Democratic victory in the recent election. Obama won; Democrats picked up seats in both the Senate and House.
Americans voted for higher taxes on the rich. They are OK with entitlement program reforms, but only after more revenues come in from the wealthiest and wasteful programs in other areas (especially defense) are slashed.
As Paul Krugman correctly points out, health care spending needs to be brought under control. But raising the Medicare eligibility age and other useless GOP proposals will do nothing but shift costs to those who can't afford them.
The point is that if you want to control Medicare costs, you can’t do it by kicking a small number of relatively young seniors off the program; to control costs, you have to, you know, control costs.
And the truth is that we know a lot about how to do that — after all, every other advanced country has much lower health costs than we do, and even within the US, the VHA and even Medicaid are much better at controlling costs than Medicare, and even more so relative to private insurance.
The key is having a health insurance system that can say no — no, we won’t pay premium prices for drugs that are little if any better, we won’t pay for medical procedures that yield little or no benefit
But even as Republicans demand “entitlement reform”, they are dead set against anything like that. Bargaining over drug prices? Horrors! The Independent Payment Advisory Board? Death panels! They refuse to contemplate using approaches that have worked around the world; the only solution they will countenance is the solution that has never worked anywhere, namely, converting Medicare into an underfunded voucher system.
So pay no attention when they talk about how much they hate deficits. If they were serious about deficits, they’d be willing to consider policies that might actually work; instead, they cling to free-market fantasies that have failed repeatedly in practice.