Driving the Day: Playing Politics with a Responsible Budget

Last week, we announced that Rep. Ryan’s budgets would appear on our legislative scorecard. On Friday, the House voted 235-193 to pass the Ryan budget, a framework that restructures Medicare for people under age 55 and calls for $5.8 trillion in cuts over the next ten years (House Roll Call Vote #277).

All House Democrats voted against this budget. And now, predictably, they are tuning up the liberal scare machine.

While the Ryan plan doesn’t touch Medicare for anyone over age 55 (ten years away from eligibility), the shrill ads intone otherwise:

“Did you know Congressman Chip Cravaack voted to end Medicare, forcing seniors to pay $12,500 for private health insurance, without guaranteed coverage? Tell Cravaack to keep his hands off our Medicare.”

With spin like that, who needs reality?

The reality is that seniors wouldn’t be forced to chance anything. Just before Medicare will go insolvent because of the retiring baby boomer generation, the proposed changes would kick in. The Wall Street Journal reported:

Medicare would be cut $30 billion over 10 years. The federal health program would remain as a fee-for-service system with a guaranteed set of benefits for people now 55 and older.

In his most dramatic proposal, Mr. Ryan’s plan would end Medicare’s benefit guarantee in favor of having seniors choose among private health plans. The U.S. would subsidize the premium payments with an average payment starting at $8,000.

While that is a substantial change to the untenable Medicare entitlement, it’s not the end of any currently offered benefits.

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