by Max Brantley
The Arkansas Republican Party has gone to quoting Bill Clinton. Out of context. From a GOP news release:
Former President Bill Clinton called on the Democratic Party Wednesday to stop using Medicare as a political weapon and start working with Republicans before Medicare costs “devour the economy.”
Indeed, Bill Clinton, in the aftermath of the New York congressional win on the strength of Medicare, urged Democrats not to stick with the status quo on Medicare. (The winning New York candidate in her acceptance speech made it clear she believes changes are in order.) But the key point of Clinton's remarks was that the Democrats might have to give up political gains if a "reasonable" proposal emerged. Emphasis on reasonable. Because here's what Clinton said about the existing Republican proposal on Medicare, the Ryan plan to dismantle it and replace it with a privatized voucher system. This is passage absent from the state Republican news release:
He said the plan by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which turns Medicare into a type of voucher system, is “not the best one," contending there's no reason to believe the plan will give seniors sufficient market power to drive down prices. In fact, Clinton said, it will likely explode healthcare costs.
But Clinton insisted that Medicare costs have to be dealt with to get a grip on budget deficits.
The former president charged that Republicans are being haunted by their decision to distort the Obama healthcare reforms to Medicare Advantage in the 2010 election. “The Republicans ran to the left of the Democrats,” he noted. He reiterated a complaint that Democrats did not do enough on the campaign trail to explain the changes.
Democrats favor reining in healthcare costs by strengthening the power of the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board to restrict payments.
Clinton said that Medicare and Medicaid reform can be done only as part of a plan to reduce healthcare cost inflation.