Greg Sargent has posted a great interview with a Democratic pollster who says that the Democrats have made huge gains with the American people as supporters of the working class and caretakers of health care and Medicare. That could all be lost,
June 1, 2011

Greg Sargent has posted a great interview with a Democratic pollster who says that the Democrats have made huge gains with the American people as supporters of the working class and caretakers of health care and Medicare. That could all be lost, though, if VP Biden, Congress and the Obama administration agree to cuts in benefits as some sort of grand bargain to appease the Beltway media elites.

Dem pollster: Dems agree to Medicare benefits cuts at their peril

If Democrats in deficit negotiations agree to a compromise that cuts Medicare benefits to seniors, they risk squandering the advantage they’ve built up over Republicans on the issue since 2010 and risk losing their more general edge as defenders of the middle class, a top Dem pollster who just completed an extensive health care poll tells me.

Jeff Liszt, of the respected Dem firm Anzalone Liszt, has just completed a poll for two liberal-leaning groups finding that the Paul Ryan Medicare plan is deeply unpopular with voters, and particularly with seniors and independents, when the plan is described to them. The poll also found that Obama and Dems have increased their advantage over Republicans on Medicare, on health care in general, and on who can be trusted to defend the middle class.

I followed up with Liszt to ask whether his polling indicated that Dems could lose those advantages if they agree to a deficit reduction deal that cuts Medicare benefits and shifts costs to seniors. His answer was unequivocal.

“Agreeing to benefits cuts takes the foot off the gas in terms of going on the offensive against Republicans,” said Liszt, who did the poll for the Herndon Alliance and Know Your Care. “You have to draw a bright line somewhere and Medicare benefits are the best place to do that.”

As I've written before, the GOP got drunk on their 2010 midterm victory and thought they could dismantle medicare with Ryan's junk science, but in every poll we've seen, America isn't buying it. It's corrosive to our society to have Randian ideas transmitted to the population, but like Social Security, medicare and Medicaid are tangible items that seniors use to live their lives. They transcend partisanship in the end. I only hope that Obama doesn't cave and agree to a compromise that will only weaken the quality of life for the working class as the 2%ers continue to live high on the hog.

CNN's latest poll:

The poll indicates that 58 percent of the public opposes the Republican plan on Medicare, with 35 percent saying they support the proposal. The survey's Wednesday release comes as the president met with House Republicans to discuss, among other things, Medicare reform.

"Half of those we questioned say that the country would be worse off under the GOP Medicare proposals and 56 percent think that GOP plan would be bad for the elderly," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Opposition is highest among senior citizens, at 74 percent, suggesting that seniors are most worried about changes to Medicare even if those changes are presented as ones that would not affect existing Medicare recipients." "A majority of all demographic groups don't favor the GOP Medicare proposals," Holland adds. "That includes conservatives - 54 percent of them don't like the plan. As a result, rank-and-file Republicans are split right down the middle, with 48 percent favoring the GOP plan and 50 percent opposed."

Seniors hate Paul's ideas more than anyone else polled and 50% of Republicans are rejecting it as well. That's unheard of.

Ruth Marcus is an odious Villager and writes an insipid fantasy discussion between Obama and Ryan. It's sickening watching these beltway hacks fantasize about their bipartisan fetish. Is she one of the Twelve Cylon beltway models? Let's call her a #3 for now until we can develop a Cylon detector. Remember, when a Cylon dies, they get downloaded into another body so they live on no matter how many times their ideas get vanquished.

Marcus should listen to the real Paul Ryan lie on FOX about Obama and the new health care just to get a dose of reality:

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Think Progress:

RYAN: Millions of dollars of negative ads are being run to try and scare seniors and trying to confuse seniors. You know, the irony of this Bill, is with all this Mediscare that the Democrats are running, it’s Obamacare itself that ends Medicare as we know it. Obamacare takes half a trillion dollars from Medicare — not to make it more solvent but to spend on this other government program, Obamacare. And then it creates this 15 panel board of unelected, unaccountable, bureaucrats starting next year to price control and ration Medicare for current seniors.

It does no such thing. The ACA reduced annual increases in payments to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and other institutions to spur productivity and cut overpayments to private insurers that are not delivering value for Medicare dollars. It used that money to expand coverage to 32 million Americans — many of whom were receiving uncompensated care at these institutions — to extend the life of the Medicare program and invest in new demonstration projects that aim to encourage providers to deliver quality care more efficiently. Seniors’ guaranteed benefits are in no way affected.

The “15 panel board,” as Ryan calls it, is actually the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). It will include individuals from across the health care field, all of whom will have to be confirmed by the Senate. Significantly, their proposal to reduce spending cannot “include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums…increase Medicare beneficiary cost- sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co- payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria” (Section 3403 (page 409) of the Affordable Care Act on

And Steve Benen echoes my opinion of Paul Ryan as well:

And finally, I can’t be the only one who finds it hilarious to hear Paul Ryan whine incessantly about “scare” tactics while, at the exact same time, also whine incessantly that Democrats are trying to end Medicare while forcing bureaucrats to ration care for seniors.

Anyone who considers Paul Ryan a bright, honest policy wonk just isn’t paying close enough attention.

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