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Republicans object to Obama describing their Medicare plan

The Colbert Report: Stephen Colbert’s Health Care Haiku

Last Wednesday, House republicans met with President Obama in a closed-door meeting to talk about negotiations over the budget and the debt ceiling limit. We’ll have more on that issue in an upcoming post, but there is one aspect of the meeting that we wanted to mention now. During the meeting Republicans pressed Obama to stop the “demagoguery” of their Medicare plan, which Paul Ryan accused him of “mischaracterizing.”

Time’s Kate Pickering explains the irony here:

It’s a little hard to take seriously the Republicans trying to shame Obama and other Democrats out of vilifying Paul Ryan’s plan to overhaul Medicare. GOP lawmakers and candidates for office – although not Ryan primarily – spent 2009 and 2010 convincing the public that the Affordable Care Act would gut Medicare and even lead to “death panels.” (A recap: there are no death panels, the program retains its fundamental shape as a single-payer government system and cuts to Medicare called for in Obamacare, while significant and diverted to fund new subsidies for non-seniors, total about $500 billion over 10 years. The program’s annual budget is about $500 billion.) Yet, Republicans – stung by polling showing that the Ryan plan to transform Medicare into a much cheaper, privatized system is unpopular – are calling on Democrats to end their “Mediscare” campaign.

As we explained in an earlier post, Ryan’s plan turns Medicare into a voucher program, where seniors are given a fixed amount of money to purchase private insurance– money that will pay for less and less care over time. President Obama and other democrats have described it accurately, which seems to be the GOP’s real objection.

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