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….