Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Did I mention that Carl Hulse and Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times consider it debatable whether the Paul Ryan plan actually dismantles Medicare?

Democrats are preparing to try to brand Republicans as proponents of dismantling the Medicare system if they vote for the party's budget, which advocates converting the program from one where the government is the insurer into one where the government subsidizes retirees in private insurance plans.

Republicans say that without such changes, Medicare will not be financially sustainable in the long run as the population ages and medical costs continue to rise.

No, really -- even though no one born in 1956 or later will have Medicare of the kind that's available to every senior citizen now, it's a they-said/they-said debate as to whether this is actually a significant change that would be made willfully as a consequence of the plan:

A fund-raising e-mail sent Monday by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee warned recipients that the Ryan budget would "end Medicare as we know it and force seniors to clip coupons if they need to see a doctor." It added, "Meanwhile, the wealthy would receive another tax cut."

Republicans say Democrats are exaggerating the impact of any vote. They say their party has a credible response that the budget preserves Medicare for future retirees since it could collapse under runaway costs if left unchanged. Americans now 55 or older would still be covered under the existing program.

That's right -- no one after a certain point would get what's available to everyone now ... but is that "end[ing] Medicare as we know it"? It's a matter of opinion!

I'm not picking on the Times as a whole -- for the most part, I don't see nonsense like this on the Times editorial page or op-ed page (even Douthat and Brooks, I think would acknowledge that the Ryan plan is very different from the status quo), and I don't even see it in the business section. But it's here in this front-page story, and it's ridiculous.

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