The House Republican Study Committee (RSC) is hard at work figuring out how Republicans can lose the next election.
They are planning amendments to the government spending bills this year to privatize Medicare and to means test access to benefits now given as a matter of right.
They also call for as yet unspecified cuts in Social Security.
The Washington Times reports that the Study group proposes to means test Medicare.
It wants to “consolidate the various portions of Medicare coverage, including prescription drugs, hospital stays and doctor’s visits, into one plan.
“Seniors would then be given a monthly subsidy, based on income, to purchase either private health insurance or the single Medicare plan.”
The theory, that the “shift would incentive private health insurers to slash rates to compete with Medicare to sign up the most seniors,” underscored a similar plan proposed in 2015 by then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
It helped to cost the Republicans the House majority in 2018.
Former-President Donald Trump has successfully cut his challenger Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ vote by two-thirds by attacking him for backing the Ryan plan.
The Republican Study Committee proposal won’t fare any better.
As Ryan did, the RSC cites the findings of the Medicare Board of Trustees that the system will run out of money by 2028. The GOP plan is an alternative to an increase in the Medicare tax.
But, even amid national inflation, the cost of healthcare is rising by only 0.72% this year compared to 1.05% last year and the long term average of 5.18%. Clearly advances in medicine and increased regulation of costs by the government and insurers is bringing the cost of Medicare down. Possibly enough to forestal the doomsday warnings of he trustees.
But regardless of the merits of the issue, one thing is clear: cutting Medicare or Social Security is the one sure way for the Republicans to lose the election of 2024.
Even the report that the RSC is studying the idea is sure to make itself felt in Democratic negative ads during this entire cycle.
Winning elections is hard enough without handing the Democrats gratuitously a golden issue.
RSC, please cease and desist – now.
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