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Ryan's Plan Really Would End Medicare

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Paul Ryan addresses the Peter G. Peterson Foundation 2011 Fiscal Summit at the Mellon Auditorium May 25, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Paul Ryan addresses the Peter G. Peterson Foundation 2011 Fiscal Summit at the Mellon Auditorium May 25, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Republicans couldn’t get enough of Paul Ryan and his “bold” and “visionary” budget plan when he unveiled it back in April. But after the applause faded, it began to sink in that Ryan’s plan would essentially abolish Medicare, the government health insurance program for seniors. This didn’t go over well with voters, who by and large love – make that depend on – their Medicare, and they’ve begun to make their feelings known – as in this week’s upset in New York’s 26th Congressional District, where the Democratic candidate took out her opponent by hammering on Ryan’s proposal. Ryan has been all over the media this week scolding Democrats for “demaguoging” and misrepresenting his genius plan. But, as Paul Krugman notes today, that’s not going to wash. "The reality is that the Ryan plan is turning into a political disaster for Republicans," he writes, "not because the plan’s critics are lying about it, but because they’re describing it accurately." To take one example, critics say Ryan would "end Medicare as we know it."  Ryan cries "Mediscare!" But he wants to replace the current government-paid system with one where seniors are handed vouchers and told to go find private coverage. If that wouldn't end Medicare as we know it, what would? In fact, Krugman says, it's Ryan who’s misrepresenting. Rather than “a serious effort to come to grip with America’s long-run fiscal problems,” his plan has been exposed as  "an attempt to snooker Americans into accepting a standard right-wing wish list under the guise of deficit reduction."

• 'Medicare and Mediscares,' Paul Krugman [NYT]

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