Topic of the Week: The impact of Medicare in 2012

In a rather stunning turn of events, Democrat Kathy Hochul won a special election in New York’s 26th Congressional district, a heavily Republican district that voted 74% for the Republican candidate in 2010. The main issue in the special election in the NY 26th district was the plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan to eliminate Medicare as we know it and replace it with a coupon system, forcing seniors to haggle with insurance companies to try and find insurance coverage on their own.

While conservatives have been quick to blame the presence of a third party candidate in that race as the reason the Republican candidate lost, the most recent polling completed prior to election day in the 26th showed that the issue voters cared most about was Medicare, and those voters were more than a little bothered by Republican Jane Corwin’s enthusiastic support for Rep. Ryan’s Medicare-killing plan.

So let’s talk about how Republican support for eliminating Medicare as we know it will impact their chances in 2012. Will Republican support for Paul Ryan’s Medicare “reforms” be the albatross the economy and “ObamaCare” were for Democrats in 2010?


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4 thoughts on “Topic of the Week: The impact of Medicare in 2012

  1. Yes, because they’re not only sticking to their guns on Medicare cuts, but now they’re trying to tie it to the debt ceiling. TPM had an article yesterday that Mitch McConnell said that any compromise on the debt ceiling would be a non-starter if it didn’t include cuts to Medicare.

    Medicare and Social Security are often thought of as the 3rd rail in politics, and in light of the NY-26 election, it surprises me that Republicans would try to double down on their stupidity.

  2. “it surprises me that Republicans would try to double down on their stupidity”

    It’s because they face a Charybdis opposite the Scylla in the form of the wingnut base. And because of last fall’s teabagger red tide, many of the nuttiest of the wingnuts are in Congress, like our own Ron Johnson and Sean Duffy. Check out this amazing story:

    [House Majority Whip] McCarthy spent hours shepherding Republicans, in groups of five, from the Capitol to Chinatown in downtown Washington, where the Treasury Department auctioned debt to investors from the United States and abroad…

    The presentation McCarthy and other top Republicans are giving to lawmakers is stunningly simple and illustrates just how unfamiliar House Republicans are with governing. On presentation slides viewed by POLITICO, McCarthy and other House leaders are using colored, flag-laden charts to show how much debt China and other nations hold.

  3. From today’s Daily Kos:

    Paul Krugman:

    “Ryan may claim — and he may even believe — that he’s facing a backlash because his opponents are lying about his proposals. But the reality is that the Ryan plan is turning into a political disaster for Republicans, not because the plan’s critics are lying about it, but because they’re describing it accurately.”

    Juan Williams:

    “Republicans are fooling only themselves if they believe they can get away from the fact that 235 House Republicans voted to pass the Ryan plan in April. They are forgetting their success in using the Democrats’ vote for health care reform to rout them last fall. The voters that handed them that impressive victory are now the same voters who have now turned against them.

    The hard fact is every poll shows the Ryan plan – which turns Medicare into a voucher program and forces senior citizens to negotiate with private insurance companies – is unpopular with people over 65 and their children.”

    Republicans are getting clobbered on this. Keep reading.

    RJ Eskow:

    “On Wednesday forty radicals in the United States Senate took an extremist position by voting to end Medicare.

    That simple sentence will be challenged by a lot of political and media people. They’ll say I don’t understand the popular mood, and that I’m applying my own values to Wednesday’s vote. But I can prove this statement is true, using only a dictionary and some polling data. They’ll even say they didn’t vote to end Medicare! But that can be proved, too.

    The problem for the GOP is that their dissembling about their true goal (ending Medicare) has been exposed. That’s a killer, politically.”

  4. Zach asks a simple question, “Will Republican support for Paul Ryan’s Medicare “reforms” be the albatross [in the 2012 election cycle that] the economy and [the Affordable Care Act] were for Democrats in 2010? And what do you hear from the rightwingers here?!

    (*crickets*). . .(*crickets*). . .(*crickets*). . .

    Wingnut (*crickets*). . .

    Teabagger (*crickets*). . .

    Republican (*crickets*). . .

    The Right has been trying to kill Social Security and Medicare for as long as they have been around, and Democrats have been protecting them for just as long.

    The Republican Party, the Right, in general, may have thought that this post-2010 election “moment” in time represented their BEST, perhaps last, opportunity to end The New Deal and The Great Society social safety nets that have always been anathema to them, and they took their shot.

    It didn’t work out.

    Unfortunately for the Republicans and the Right, it looks like the country has finally caught on to what they are all about, and with the country’s demographics changing in a way that they know favors the Democratic Party, it may very well turn out to be their death rattle, the last strategic/philosophical gasp for life of a Republican Party that had turned to the Southern Strategy in the late 1960s to forestall extinction as the country began to change around them.

    “Rest in peace”, Republican Party.

    And good riddance.

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