If Republicans ignored public opinion to gut Medicare to the tune of $741 billion over 10 years (and about $5 trillion over 20 years) there would be no other issue in any federal election until that law got repealed. Democrats would be relentless and seniors would be up-in-arms. And understandably so, especially because about 10,000 baby boomers are now retiring every day.
Yet that was precisely what Obama’s health care law did to Medicare, and the liberal media is dutifully downplaying the significance of these devastating cuts. Republicans should be banging the drum as heavily as the Democrats would if the shoe were on the other foot. Yet there is a sense that it would be unseemly or inconsistent to do so. We’re the party of cutting spending, right? So we shouldn’t attack Obama’s slashing of Medicare? Dead wrong.
The best explanation I’ve seen was by my friends Peter Ferrara and Larry Hunter, who wrote in the WSJ:
The drastic reductions in Medicare reimbursements under ObamaCare will create havoc and chaos in health care for seniors. Many doctors, surgeons and specialists providing critical care to the elderly—such as surgery for hip and knee replacements, sophisticated diagnostics through MRIs and CT scans, and even treatment for cancer and heart disease—will cease serving Medicare patients. If the government is not going to pay, then seniors are not going to get the health services, treatment and care they expect.
Everyone should know by now that Medicare suffers dramatic long-term deficits and unfunded liabilities, and is in need of fundamental, structural reforms. But effectively refusing to pay the doctors and hospitals that provide the medical care the program promises to seniors is no way to solve that problem.
That is the crux of the issue. The big lie from Democrats about Ryan’s plan is that it would end Medicare; quite the contrary, it would save Medicare from devastating cuts to reimbursement rates coming now thanks to Obama.
Most conservatives would not have created the Medicare program the way it presently exists. But it would be wrong to simply deny people who spent their entire working lives paying taxes into the Medicare system access to the care they believed they were paying for.
Ryan’s plan recognizes resource constraints exist and empowers individuals to harness the power of competition to provide more with less and create greater choice. It put seniors– not unaccountable bureaucrats like Obama’s IPAB — in control.
Obama’s plan – now staring us in the face because his $741 billion in cuts (per the Congressional Budget Office:, see page 5, table 2 of this PDF) have been enacted into law to pay for his vast new government takeover of health care – is to simply starve Medicare of funds. That’s wrong – and conservatives shouldn’t hesitate to attack it forcefully and without reservation.