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What Others Are Saying About the Wyden-Ryan Effort to Save and Strengthen Medicare

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Washington, Dec 20, 2011 | comments

Last week, Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Paul Ryan unveiled a new bipartisan plan to strengthen Medicare and offer expanded health choices to all Americans. Opinion leaders from across the political spectrum were quick to hail the plan as a breakthrough that could pave the way toward saving and strengthening a critical program that millions of seniors rely on.

Wall Street Journal editorial: The Wyden-Ryan Breakthough

“This is an important moment because it shows that the serious entitlement debate is taking place within the camp of choice and incentives, not the Obama status quo... The brutal math is that Medicare spending has been growing about three percentage points faster every year than the overall economy for the last quarter-century and is now the main driver of the fiscal crisis. Mr. Obama has ruled out any structural reforms and his only fallback is the command-and-control technocracy that continues to fail and will ultimately harm patient care. The Wyden-Ryan deal shows that smart liberals prefer a different future.”

Washington Post editorial: Healing Medicare

"In the maelstrom of dysfunction and partisanship better known as the 112th Congress, it is always surprising and gratifying when lawmakers from opposing parties manage to work together. That is particularly true when their collaboration involves an issue as politically charged and substantively complex as Medicare. So we begin by congratulating Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for having the tenacity to try again, with a revamped version of Medicare reform unveiled last week."

The Oregonian editorial: Wyden's very bold move

“Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden put healthy spark back into national politics this week by joining Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan in proposing Medicare reforms that would allow elder Americans to choose between government-backed medical services and equivalent care offered by competitive, private insurers. It's called bipartisan compromise of the kind missing from Congress' paralyzing debt-crisis battles, and it could very well help to get our government moving again.”

Racine Journal Times editorial: Bipartisan Medicare Plan Worth a Look

"Wyden-Ryan isn’t perfect—no plan that can get through Congress will ever be—but it’s likely to be our best chance at getting both parties to come together. If Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on something along the lines of Wyden-Ryan, Medicare reform is dead. On the other hand, if it succeeds, Wyden-Ryan may turn out to be one of the most significant legislative initiatives of the decade."

National Review editorial: The Significance of Wyden-Ryan

"Yesterday’s announcement that Democratic senator Ron Wyden and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan have teamed up on a bill that would shift Medicare to a “premium support” model — instead of getting insurance from the government, seniors could receive a subsidy to spend on a private plan — is a bombshell with far-reaching implications. To begin with, this is very bad news for Democratic political consultants. For months now, they have been salivating at the prospect of turning the 2012 election into a referendum on the evil “Ryan plan” to “end Medicare as we know it.”

"The president, to his everlasting shame, signaled that this was the Democratic game plan when he attacked Ryan and all House Republicans for having the courage to advance entitlement reform. Among other things, the president essentially accused the GOP of pushing an un-American reform model that would deny health care to poor and sick seniors. That’s going to be a much harder sell now that Senator Wyden — a liberal from a deep-blue state — has signed on to Ryan’s vision for Medicare."

New York Daily News editorial: Paul Ryan & Ron Wyden’s Medicare Reform Holds Promise

"Reactions were typical of Washington. Partisan Democrats groused, knowing their ability to demagogue this issue had just taken a hit. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said, “The Wyden-Ryan scheme” — note the cleverly derisive word — would “end Medicare as we know it for millions of seniors.” Baloney. The only thing certain to end Medicare as we know it is the status quo of Medicare itself."

James Pethokoukis, AEI: Medicare Reform Plan – An Antidote to Financial Armageddon
“Here’s what Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin—the GOP’s leading economic wonk—is afraid of: First, the Great Reckoning finally arrives and America is engulfed by a sovereign debt crisis like the one currently blazing in Europe. Second, Washington’s response to such terrible turmoil—whether an embrace of higher taxes or inflationary money printing or both—makes the problem even worse and puts the Greatest Nation on Earth on a path of irreversible decline and irrelevance.…Passage of Wyden-Ryan might prevent the Great Reckoning from happening. And if fiscal reform stalls and a debt crisis does occur, the plan would give Washington policymakers something to reach for besides a massive tax increase.”

Yuval Levin, National Review: Another Step toward Medicare Reform

"This joint venture will be of much help in combating the Democrats’ scare tactics on Medicare. It is a great sign for the potential of real Medicare reform, and another extraordinary feat in a year of great achievements for Ryan. He has more or less singlehandedly moved conservatives to exactly the right place on entitlement reform, and now he seems to be starting to build a broader coalition for it too."

Joe Klein, Time Magazine: Wyden-Ryan: A Move Toward Health Care Sanity

"This is excellent, creative progress. It’s only a beginning. It doesn’t fully address the cost containment issue at the heart of Medicare. It doesn’t fully address the excesses of fee-for-service medicine. But it does recognize that you can’t simply repeal Obamacare–that the health care system has to be reformed if we’re going to get our deficit problems under control. It also is clear evidence that there are compromises to be had, if politicians eschew cheap politics and begin thinking about the greater good."

Howard Gleckman, TaxVox Blog: A Medicare reform plan that just might work

"On a day when Washington partisans couldn’t even figure out (yet again) how to keep the government running, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) did a remarkable thing: They announced a bipartisan plan to fix Medicare, probably the most contentious of policy issues. And, amazingly, what they came up with might just work. Their design, called premium support, isn’t new — it tracks fairly closely to an idea that’s been pushed by health economists for years and one proposed last year by former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin and former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.)."

Michael Barone, Washington Examiner: A Democrat Reaches Across the Aisle on Medicare

"Ryan-Wyden represents a major step forward in public policy and gives hope that the Medicare entitlement can be rendered sustainable…Wyden shows that at least one Democrat, even in campaign season, is more interested in good public policy than in politics."

Avik Roy, Forbes: Why Wyden-Ryan is a Game Changer on Medicare Reform

"Wyden-Ryan isn’t perfect—no plan that can get through Congress will ever be—but it’s likely to be our best chance at getting both parties to come together. If Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on something along the lines of Wyden-Ryan, Medicare reform is dead. On the other hand, if it succeeds, Wyden-Ryan may turn out to be one of the most significant legislative initiatives of the decade."

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