Benjy Sarling from Talking Points Memo reported on Sunday that the embattled House Republican leaders are looking to “shock” their joke Medicare plan “back to life with a new message.” Representative Paul Ryan is going to try to sell his laughable “Path to Prosperity” nonsense at the Economic Club of Chicago today. Apparently watching the Speaker humiliate himself at the Economic Club of New York did not do anything to deter Ryan. Even Boehner blasted this out on his Twitter account on Friday:
News reports that SS & Medicare will run out of money sooner than expected only underscore the importance of enacting Path to Prosperity
OK, a couple of things here. I will first show how disingenuous and dishonest Boehner was with the first part of his tweet. I will then point out that if Boehner really wants to talk the talk on “Path to Prosperity,” he will get a prime opportunity to goad his Republican colleagues from other chamber in Congress to walk the walk this week.
First, let me start with those news reports. Boehner was excitedly referring to was article like this one in the Bloomberg, talking about a release of a report by the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees, which found that the Medicare Trust Fund would become insolvent in 2016 without the deficit-reduction provisions in the Affordable Care Act. What Boehner and his cronies do not want you to know is that the report actually made it pretty clear that Social Security and Medicare are in good shape because of landmark legislation such as the Affordable Care Act passed under the stewardship of a Democratic President and Democratically controlled Congress. The report also supported the Democratic argument that it’s the extreme Republican economic and fiscal policies that have negatively impacted the finances of those programs. Leader Nancy Pelosi set the record straight:
“Unlike the Republicans who voted to end Medicare as we know it, we must build on the reforms in the Affordable Care Act, which strengthened Medicare and extended its solvency without reducing benefits to our seniors.
“Republicans have now voted to end Medicare while giving billions to Big Oil and millionaires. Republicans have long been up to the same tricks with Social Security, putting the economic security of America’s seniors at risk. Democrats created Social Security and Medicare; we have sustained them for generations; we are working to strengthen, not end them.”
As did Democratic Leaders from Ways and Means Committee - Sander Levin (D-MI) and Pete Stark (D-CA):
Ranking Member Levin: “This report makes clear just how vital health care reform is to the life of Medicare, yet Republicans continue to pursue a one-two punch against the program through their plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program and their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The deep recession has set back the solvency of Medicare and we will fight, at every step, Republican efforts to use that as justification to gut a program vital to the lives of so many Americans.”
Ranking Member Stark: “Today’s Trustees’ report spotlights how the Medicare reforms in the Affordable Care Act are a boon to the program’s strength and solvency. To protect the health of Americans of all ages, we must defeat Republican attempts to end Medicare and gut health reform.”
“The Medicare Trustees Report underscores the importance of last year’s historic health care reform law in improving and stabilizing Medicare,” said Rep. Waxman. “Provisions in the law extend Medicare for eight years beyond 2016 when it otherwise would go bankrupt. The report also shows that the Affordable Care Act’s improvements can stabilize the program while still preserving it for generations to come. This is in stark contrast to the Republican budget which would destroy the Medicare program.”
In addition, the Center for American Progress, in response to the above referenced report, laid out in this issue brief the fact that Medicare remains “the best option for ensuring quality health care for our retirees, for controlling costs for taxpayers, for administering benefits to Medicare patients, and for spreading the risks of insuring our elderly across our nation.”
Yet, there was Boehner tweeting away, once again looking like someone who has no idea what the heck he is talking about. It's beyond embarrassing that the Speaker of the United States cannot recognize the basic facts about our Medicare program.
What is especially hilarious that even a crazy and reactionary (not to mention delusional) Republican Presidential candidate such as Newt Gingrich wants no part of Ryan’s Medicare plan. Yesterday Newt laughed Ryan’s plan off as “right wing social engineering.” So if Boehner really wants to bear hug Ryan’s joke of a Medicare plan, here is what he should do this week – he can start today.
You see, the Senate will most likely being voting on Ryan’s budget plan in next couple of weeks. It is coming up and it is going to happen soon. If Boehner feels sooo strongly about his pal’s “Path to Prosperity,” then he needs to make direct statements urging his Senate GOP colleagues to vote for it. He should specifically call out Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to come out in support of it. He should chide his Republican Senators such as Lamar Alexandar (R-TN) and Rob Portman (R-OH) for not fully embracing Ryan’s plan. If Boehner wants to walk the walk on Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” he needs to forcefully ask the Senate Republicans to join him on path to recession in the coming days.