8 May

GOP dodges Medicare reform

                                       

While the nation remains conveniently distracted by a barrage of punditry on the UBL killing and mission details, I’m reminded of the old saying… watch my left hand whilst I pick your pocket with my right. Thus the haps as, quietly and without fanfare, the Republicans decided to forego penning any any Medicare legislative reform on Thursday. House Ways and Means Chair, David Camp, confirmed that despite Ryan budget passage and promises, the House majority will offer up no bill because “it stands no chance of getting passed by the Democratic-led Senate.

“I’m interested in finding a way forward that will get signed into law,” Camp told reporters at an event sponsored by Health Affairs, a health policy journal.

Really now? Such impossibilities didn’t stop the House Republicans from offering up HR -1, a bill to repeal Obamacare – as their first order of business in January, and passing that bill. If fact, the chance of reconciling any differences between a flat out repeal, without alternative legislation, is more far fetched than passing Medicare reform that may stimulate some real debate and amendments. Is it likely a pipe dream? Probably. But it’s a little late now for the GOP to admit defeat in advance, considering their leadership in the current session thus far.

This 180 about face also makes the House passage of Ryan’s budget, including Medicare/Medicaid reforms, as nothing more than lip service, dressed up with some pandering political pageantry. This is compounded by the fact that Ryan’s budget… the most “austere” of the three far-from-austere presented plans… is laughable since it still continued deficit spending for 18-20 years before becoming a balanced budget. And this was in the vacuum of any ensuing legislation that altered and already unacceptable spending plan.

The comments by Representative Dave Camp, the Michigan Republican who is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, coupled with remarks by other top Republicans, suggested that the party’s Medicare proposal was firmly on hold even though lawmakers had taken a risky vote to support it in the House.

At a health policy forum at the National Press Club, Mr. Camp noted that Democrats had resisted the Republican approach and said he was “not interested in talking about whether the House is going to pass a bill that the Senate shows no interest in.”

“I’m not interested in laying down more markers,” Mr. Camp said.

His statement followed similar comments by other Republicans, including Representatives Eric Cantor of Virginia, the majority leader, and Paul Ryan, the budget chairman who developed the Medicare plan. They both said Republicans recognized that they were unlikely to win approval of their sweeping Medicare proposal in the debt-reduction talks that began at Blair House on Thursday.

Fiscal conservatives, perhaps swamped with the news of UBL’s death and sidetracked by the attempt to slow any political steam Obama may get by the successful mission, remain uncomfortably quiet on this total abandonment of fiscal responsibility. There is no way that deficient and debt can be addressed without serious debate and reform of the two largest entitlement programs – Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security – that are draining the nation’s wallet. If the newly elected majority kicks that can down the road, citing futility, then why are they wasting time penning O’healthcare repeals?

Newt Gingrich at least laid the ugly truth on the line… it’s all about politics.

Republicans’ proposed overhaul of the Medicare system is a “dangerous political exercise,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says.

Gingrich, who is considering a 2012 presidential run, believes making changes to the Medicare system isn’t as politically risky as it was in the past but should still be handled with care, the New York Times reports.

“This is not something that Republicans can afford to handle lightly,” Gingrich said.

Please tell me we’re not going to be waiting for a day when such legislation will *not* be “politically risky”.

My criticism for the GOP is not intended to elevate the liberal/progressives Democrats as superior. We already know their approach… simply to ignore it while allowing the “death panel” of appointees – the IMAB – to slowly whittle down Medicare payouts to providers in order to keep the Medicare budget in check. Short changing providers more and more each year is no acceptable answer to the problem of the soaring costs to administer medical care, and exacerbates the problem by have less and less providers willing to participate in serving the increasing load of Medicare mandated participants, the Boomer generation.

Even more disheartening, the GOP mouthpieces are busy, minimizing this decision. Eric Cantor, in a response to a WaPo post on Wednesday, tried to suggest their committment was still strong. Me thinks he doth protest too much….

On the eve of debt-reduction talks led by Vice President Biden, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said Republicans remain convinced that reining in federal retirement programs is the key to stabilizing the nation’s finances over the long term. But he said Republicans recognize they may need to look elsewhere to achieve consensus after President Obama “excoriated us” for a proposal to privatize Medicare.

That search could start, Cantor said, with a list of GOP proposals that would save $715 billion over the next decade by ending payments to wealthy farmers, limiting lawsuits against doctors, and expanding government auctions of broadcast spectrum to telecommunications companies, among other items.

Hello? The entitlement debate could start with ending subsidies to farmers, some tort reform and chit chat about the telecommunications industry?? Fer heavens sake, that’s like saying the discussion to purchase a much needed new family car could begin with talk about baking cookies to sell at the local community bazaar, and making next year’s Halloween costumes.

Of course, such a blatant display of weakness has left the lib/progs jubilent, seeing this as a sign the debt limit will, indeed, be raised.

Democrats said they were encouraged by the move, which could smooth the way to a compromise allowing Congress to raise the legal limit on government borrowing and avoid a national default.

“There’s common ground there,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, who is representing House Democrats in the Biden talks.

This becomes even more embarrassing for the budget author, Paul Ryan. It was only a month ago, when presenting his 18 years of continued deficits budget, that he solemnly states:

“We can’t keep kicking this can down the road,” Ryan said to Fox. “The president has punted. We’re not going to follow suit.”

That was sure short lived… she says as she watches the can, bouncing down the road.

Fiscal conservatives need to wake up, and face this overt betrayal of fiscal responsibility dead on. Reality checks about “possibilities” with divided Congress are no excuse. There will be no time in the foreseeable future where our Congress will *not* be divided.

It appears that fire under the feet of our elected ones is in serious need of stoking….

About MataHarley

Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.
This entry was posted in Congress, Economy, Health Care, Paul Ryan, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Sunday, May 8th, 2011 at 1:13 pm
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15 Responses to GOP dodges Medicare reform

  1. Nan G says: 1

    What a shame and wimp-out.

    Had they sent it to the Senate at least we’d see where each senator stood.
    Heck, a lot more than guessed might have voted for it.
    After all, most Republican-passed legislation gets some bi-partisan support.

    Then it could have been veto’ed by Obama.
    But this just leaves it hanging.

    Maybe Paul Ryan should be drafted to run for president.
    He seems reluctant to take that first step for himself.

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  2. John Cooper says: 2

    It’s becoming obvious to the most casual observer that the Republican “leaders” are more interested in re-election than putting America’s fiscal house in order.

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  3. M says: 3

    You people are morons. even if the repubs did propose reform the president would just veto. you have to get him out of the white house before you do such a broad reform. you people are nuts. the repubs should try to over haul medicare and SS with a liberal in the Oval and a still democrat controlled Senate. you people are fools, it’s laughable. the first moment the media trots out stories of Republicans taking away Granny’s health care you all will be no where to be found to defend them for their efforts. I’m sick of all of you phony asses.

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  4. CbR says: 4

    Offer it up, when they attempt to block or defeat it offer it up again and again and again until what happened in the Texas Legislature this past week shows the true voice of of the people that sent them there to get a job DONE. Take the same approach in the Congressional House and the control of the Congressional Senate will follow. I’m really dissapointed in the leadership for calling it a week to let tempers chill. Of course then look at who’s driving the Texas house leadership – another roadblock.

    http://www.texastribune.org/texas-legislature/82nd-legislative-session/texas-house-meltdown-ends-in-gop-show-of-force/

    Edited:
    @M:
    An attitude of which you expouse has only got us where we are today. What is it about this quote “fight like a girl” don’t you understand?

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53308.html

    It’s past time to get our house in order. Throw it up there as many times as needed to finally get even the dumbaxe’s to understand change is needed. Time to rumble and Katey bar the door if you believe it will do any good.

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  5. MataHarley says: 5

    @M… speaking of phony….

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  6. MataHarley says: 6

    Can’t agree more, Nan G. Even more interesting, considering this was a part of the infamous Ryan “budget”, refusing to act on suggested entitlement reforms make lackluster budgetary “cuts” even more lackluster.

    As I have said since the lame duck session, color me unimpressed.

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  7. Memo to Rep. Camp: Passage by statists is not the measure we are looking for. We want them to run for re-election in 2012 having “accomplished” nothing in the way of expanding the state. Got it, dummy?

    d(^_^)b
    http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com/
    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

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  8. johngalt says: 8

    The whole point of passing legislation such as this, is to TAKE A STAND! Until they do, the liberals in both houses of Congress are going to keep moving more and more left. This wimping out, as Nan called it, does nothing but give the liberal/progressives confidence in their own ideology. Stupid!

    And as for me, I’m not going to stand by, or support, any Republican, unless they show a damn backbone! The leadership of the GOP, in both houses of Congress, and nationally, leaves a lot to be desired. Unless they are going to stand by on conservative principles, they might as well all join the democrats.

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  9. Greta says: 9

    The november elections gave the republicans the house, but nothing more. The democrats still have the White House and Senate. Nothing happens without the democrats and they still own power. What the november elections do is give the house an effective way to stop Obama if they use their power effectively. They should refuse to pass any spending bills, any debt extension, anything at all until Obama stop his open and behind the scenes agenda. He is doing as much damage behind the scenes as in front of it. They need to make sure the current mess created by Obama and the Democrats stays tagged to them. The real election is in 2012 and all they can do now is hurt their chances. Every day the republicans should go before the press and state they are still waiting for leadership on long term gas prices which has to be more drilling in the USA, job creation which needs to come from the business sector which is tied in knots with Obama regulations and Obamacare, serious debt reductions which has to include massive changes in entitlments; and solid foreign policy decisons going forward that make sense for the best interest of the USA and the American people. They have to demand Obama lead, not some single representative in the house.

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  10. Greg says: 10

    House Ways and Means Chair, David Camp, confirmed that despite Ryan budget passage and promises, the House majority will offer up no bill because “it stands no chance of getting passed by the Democratic-led Senate.”

    The problem is that they can’t put together a Medicare reform bill that gets over the first hurdle: That is, one that a solid majority of their own House republicans will support. If they could they would. That would force either Senate democrats or the President to block the bill, and republicans could then take credit in 2012 for having made an honest effort. It they don’t even try, they’ll be criticized for lacking the courage of their convictions.

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  11. Aleric says: 11

    And so it begins, this is how it all started in 2006, Republicans listening to the moderates who simply want to retain their power. In the coming months they will nominate another unwinnable candidate who couldnt win a state race let alone the presidency, then act surprised when he fails in 2012.

    How stupid are these people??

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  12. johngalt says: 12

    @Greg:

    It they don’t even try, they’ll be criticized for lacking the courage of their convictions.

    I agree, and that is a fair criticism that could be leveled against the GOP, as a whole, even if there are a group of individuals who would push it hard. The Republican party right now is kind of fractured, with pols who tend to be “dem-lite” running the party, while the true conservatives hold no leadership positions. That is why when you criticize the GOP, and erroneously label them as conservative, that myself and others object to it. As Mata has pointed out, Ryan’s budget plan still has deficit spending for 18-20 years, only a slightly less period of time than the left’s “plan”, and that the only good thing about it is that eventually it does become balanced. Obama’s plan doesn’t encourage the thought that we ever will get to that point.

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  13. Skookum says: 13

    The estimates of fraud within these programs is staggering, who are the lobbyists that are resisting the prosecution of those responsible for fraud and abuse? Are the criminals well represented by the AMA lobby, one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington.

    Republicans can have a two pronged attack by including an attack on corruption, but then again, neither the Democrats or Republicans probably don’t want to shake the trees of corruption, for fear of who might be exposed or become angry over turning off the source of free money and campaign contributions.

    Like Obama’s reassurances of an ever improving economy, useless talk with no action is only so much manure on the barn wall.

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  14. MataHarley says: 14

    OMG.. this gets worse… From Boehner today, via National Review:

    In the grand ballroom of the Hilton New York, Rep. John Boehner (R., Ohio) tonight took a hard line on the debt ceiling, vowing to his host, the Economic Club of New York, “Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt-limit increase.”

    …snip…

    “We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions. They should be actual cuts and program reforms, not broad deficit or debt targets that punt the tough questions to the future. And with the exception of tax hikes — which will destroy jobs — everything is on the table.”

    In March? He was promising SS and Medicare reform.

    So where is Boehner on the great GOP cop out?

    Responding Thursday to the news that one of his most powerful chairmen, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) of the House Ways and Means Committee, will not push ahead with the Medicare plan, Boehner told reporters, “My interpretation of what Mr. Camp [said] was a recognition of the political realities that we face. While Republicans control the House, the Democrats control the Senate and they control the White House.”

    Boehner insisted the GOP hasn’t abandoned the plan, and isn’t prepared to take anything other than tax increases off the table. But with multiple top Republicans now acknowledging that budget negotiations will focus on other areas of potential agreement, it seems understood that the plan is basically dead.

    Are we supposed to assume that between the Nov midterms, and this past week, Boehner suddenly had an epiphany on the hopelessness of it all?

    Talk to the hand, guy… talk to the hand.

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  15. wildbill says: 15

    Hey M do you know what F.O. means?

    ReplyReply

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