President Obama accurately described the Ryan Plan, noting that after a decade new recipients of Medicare would be paying a large amount out of pocket for health insurance. The government would supplement that payment with a direct payment to the insurance company.
President Obama linked the attack on Medicare to Republican demands that the Bush tax break for the prosperous continues.
Republicand answered none of the content of the president's speech and did not show how he mischaracterized the Ryan plan. Paul Ryan, who was first to denounce Obama, offered no specifics on how the president misrepresented the plan.
The Republicans claimed there was nothing of substance there. There was quite a bit if one was listening. The president imploed that Medicare providers should be allowed to use their bargaining power to get lower prices on prescriptions. That is big ness and good news for ordinary people.
They said he was not taking the lead on deficit reduction simply because he did not embrace all of their approach to deficit reduction. The claim that he is not "leading" is a standard one, and one for which they should not be faulted. It is politics as usual.
But it comes in the context of birtherism-- a clear indicator of racism. When birthers hear the claim they think that it would be impossible for a black man to lead.
The president hinted that too many cuts will imperil recovery. Maybe he could say no more about that because so many people b elieve that cuts create jobs. That is bad economics, but independents believe it and Obama is trying to win some of them back.
He said too little in defense of Medicaid. He wants the governors to suggest ways to get more for $100 billion less over the years. Obaha struck just the right posture. He dares not say too much about Medicaid--that would entail defending the poor, and that is a less tenable position in an America that has been embracing more Social Darwinism lately.
The tragedy is that Ryan's plan to make Medicaid entirely a block grant program will probably be part of the final bargain. It is on the way to being that anyhow. Red state governors have been requesting federal permission to cut more and more services.
The feds have little choice but to go along.
One result of the crisis will be that Medicaid will be badly damaged, and poor people will receive fewer services. The nursing home industry is nmow large, profitable, and politically connected. So even in red states, old people will not be put out on the streets. Sanitation, standards of medical care, and services will decline still more.
Many of us have had friends and relatives on Medicaid in nursing homes. One would think that people would rebel against making these very vulnerable take the biggest hit in debt reduction.
But we are becoming a more and mores selfish nation. Republicans are betting that we do not want to payu the price of compassion or make the decisions , such as cutting wars of choice, in order to do what is right.
The Ryan provision on Medicare is carefully crafted to get people now on Medicare to throwh their children under the bus.
They may have guessed right. That may be why no one tried to correct the President's characterization of the Ryan Plan. They don't want seniors to examine too carefully what support of the GOP really means in human terms.