Democrat Kathy Hochul’s upset victory in an upstate New York Congressional race is a rebuke to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to destroy Medicare. Ryan wants to replace it with a privatized voucher system which, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, would eventually double seniors’ health care expenses. Paul Krugman (left) comments that the plan is running into trouble because the public sees it for what it is. Ryan's parallel plan to substantially reduce the top tax rate makes it clear that his goal is not deficit reduction but another shift in wealth to the wealthy. From "Medicare and Mediscares":
...the Ryan plan is turning into a political disaster for Republicans, not because the plan’s critics are lying about it, but because they’re describing it accurately.
Take, for example, the statement that the Ryan plan would end Medicare as we know it. This may have Republicans screaming “Mediscare!” but it’s the absolute truth: The plan would replace our current system, in which the government pays major health costs, with a voucher system, in which seniors would, in effect, be handed a coupon and told to go find private coverage.
The new program might still be called Medicare...but it wouldn’t be the same program. And if the cost estimates of the Congressional Budget Office are at all right, the inadequate size of the vouchers — which by 2030 would cover only about a third of seniors’ health costs — would leave many if not most older Americans unable to afford essential care.
...In fact, it wasn’t really a deficit-reduction plan. Once you remove the absurd assumptions — discretionary spending, including defense, falling to Calvin Coolidge levels, and huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich, with no loss in revenue? — it’s highly questionable whether it would reduce the deficit at all.
What the Ryan plan is, instead, is an attempt to snooker Americans into accepting a standard right-wing wish list under the guise of deficit reduction. And Americans, it seems, have seen through the deception.