May 25 2011
Sabrina Schaeffer states her case well, though we obviously don't agree (Sabrina won't like my column tomorrow in The Hill, either - wink).
I agree with Sabrina that some reforms of entitlements are necessary, including Medicare. Where I disagree is that I believe Paul Ryan overkills by a very large margin, that it would be a catastrophic policy mistake to eliminate Medicare as we know it, and that it is indeed a political Waterloo for Republicans.
Whether Sabrina is right, or I am right, about the politics will be proven by events to come. It is a debate I am very pleased to join. For now I will let the New York results speak for themselves.
In my view the greatest single problem with Medicare is that healthcare costs are far too high, and that healthcare reforms beyond what was passed last year are urgently needed and are the only way to dramatically and fairly reduce the costs of Medicare and healthcare generally.
Note that I never offered high praise for the healthcare bill as enacted. I had major doubts about key provisions in it. I strongly supported the public option and strongly supported the Dorgan amendment to allow importation of high-quality, lower-cost Canadian drugs, to name just two of many concerns I had and stated about the bill.
My guess is that if I stated my views in full on healthcare, and Sabrina stated her views in full, we would robustly disagree but probably have a higher-quality debate between two competing viewpoints than occurred last year in Congress or in the media.
I do believe the Republican Medicare policy is horrendous policy and will prove to be an epic political disaster for Republicans. While I am not in the business of giving political advice to Republican leaders, if I did, my advice would be to run faster than Superman on steroids away from the Ryan Medicare plan.