Republicans Not Retreating On Medicare Reform
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is denying a published account claiming Republicans are preparing to ditch Rep. Paul Ryan’s ambitious plan to revamp Medicare in pursuit of a debt ceiling compromise with Democrats — but both sides have begun seeking common ground on oil subsidies, sources say.
The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that Cantor, highly influential with the party’s tea party wing, planned to abandon Rep. Paul Ryan’s controversial Medicare plan, but a spokesman for Cantor said his boss was quoted out of context — and the GOP is keeping a hard line.
“Eric made very clear that our position is the Ryan budget which — as you know — assumes a debt limit increase and includes Medicare, Medicaid and $715 billion in mandatory savings,” Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring told POLITICO. “Whether the Democrats will agree to the proposals we’ve outlined is yet to be seen, but that is our starting point so we don’t continue to kick the can down the road and make real cuts and real reforms this year.”
In the end, Ryan’s plan will be seriously gutted. That’s the unavoidable reality of only controlling one out of the three power centers. The best we can reasonably hope for are some first steps down the road to bringing Medicare back toward fiscal sustainability. And the the Democrats will have to be dragged kicking and screaming even a few feet down that path.
So it’s good to know the House GOP aren’t simply going to pre-emptively surrender on their bargaining position. The Democrats will lie and demagogue Ryan’s plan whether it’s being actively pursued or not. Cantor might as well get as much for scaling it back as he can.