by Max Brantley
I wasn't honored with a return call from my congressman or any of the other Republican members of Congress, but I note both Reps. Tim Griffin and Steve Womack issued warm statements to the Democrat-Gazette about the portion of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan to turn Medicaid into a block grant program. It would, of course, eventually wither and die, as a letter from Gov. Mike Beebe and a number of other governors said.
I guess they weren't asked specifically about the privatizing of Medicare, another pathway to ruin of the most successful and popular government program we have, after Social Security (also in Ryan's sights.)
The White House gets it right and it's past time for the Republicans sent to Congress in Arkansas to talk extensively and expansively about the subject they dodged during election 2010.
The Ryan plan, it said, “cuts taxes for millionaires and special interests while placing a greater burden on seniors who depend on Medicare or live in nursing homes, families struggling with a child who has serious disabilities, workers who have lost their health care coverage, and students and their families who rely on Pell grants.”
“The president believes there is a more balanced way to put America on a path to prosperity,” the statement said.
The big question is whether President Obama sufficiently engages.
BY THE WAY: Ryan's figures are full of crap.
UPDATE: I received a belated statement from U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin relative to the Ryan proposal. He's all in for it, including the gradual end of Medicare. Let the debate begin.
"For the first time we have made a serious proposal that addresses our national debt so we can avoid economic disaster and continue to innovate and create jobs. It keeps our promises to seniors on Medicare-not changing anything for those 55 and over-and gives younger Americans more freedom like Congress has, without privatization or vouchers. It repairs Medicaid by giving the program more flexibility by allowing each state to tailor it to meet the needs of their residents while maintaining sustainable growth."