Wednesday, May 11, 2011

GOP House Freshmen Clarify Plan to Reform Medicare....Never Mind

I will soon be adding new posts analyzing the details of the House Republican Budget Resolution for 2012 and how it would impact people with disabilities.  One controversial proposal is their proposal to reduce the Federal budget deficit by privatizing Medicare and capping program spending. 

However, the GOP is facing a huge backlash on their most severe budget proposals.  Ever since the November 2010 Election, House Republicans have encountered a major ideological struggle between their Tea Party wing and the Republican Leadership.  The battle has caused many of their legislative and budget proposals to shift to the Far Right.. 

It also appears that their self-perceived  "mandate" from the voters is eroding.  They clearly view the results of the election that returned control of the House to Republicans as the basis to radically change the fundamental role of the Federal government.

On Medicare, since the passage of the House 2012 Budget Resolution economists and senior and disability rights organizations began critically examining the details.  They have concluded that GOP promises to both reform entitlement programs and reduce the Federal budget deficit are built on shaky fiscal and public policy foundations. 

Moreover, public reaction may be causing a retreat from some of their entrenched positions. Rather than accepting the blame, however, they claim that purely partisan Democratic attacks are generating the loss of public support.

Today, Freshmen GOP House Members held a press conference to announce that they want to “wipe the slate clean” and start all over on serious discussions about Medicare.  In a letter signed by 42 GOP Members, they urged President Obama to end Democratic Party ads targeting Republicans seeking reelection who voted for their budget. 

Despite the rhetoric, the ads are not the only reason why Republicans are feeling the heat.  A recent poll found that public opposition to cutting Medicare and Medicaid is 80 to 18 percent.  Even more alarming, only 29 percent of Conservatives are in support, while 68 percent are opposed.

Nonetheless, the GOP letter insists that growing public opposition is due to "petty politics." The letter succinctly said “We ask that you stand above partisanship, condemn the disingenuous attacks and work with this Congress to reform spending.

Republicans certainly do not have clean hands when it comes to using Medicare as a wedge and scorched earth campaign tactics.  During the same 2010 election, Republican candidates claimed that Democrats who voted for the health care reform law had “cut” Medicare, even though the reductions actually came from overpayments to private insurers.

Sensing that Republicans are diverting attention, Democrats preempted the press conference by releasing a list of Republican ads and statements from 2010.  They all alleged that incumbent Democrats had voted to cut Medicare.  Many of the GOP attacks were successful and led to the defeat of these incumbents.

Clearly, Democrats will continue to remind voters about the votes  Republicans cast on their Medicare proposals.  It is unlikely they will agree to Republican pleas for a period of “Let’s Let Bygones Be Bygones.”

Please watch for future other postings analzing how the Ryan Budget will impac people with disabilities.


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