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House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) shows a copy of the
Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budgets over the last several years have been little more than polemics dressed up with numbers that have consistently failed to add up. What has been consistent is the theme that it's all done in the name of deficit reduction. But it's never been about the deficit, as Brian Beutler details, chronicling the evolution of Ryan's proposals for one program: Medicare. It's all about privatization.
In 2011, Ryan introduced the immaculate version of his Medicare plan—the "end Medicare as we know it" plan. And every year since he's been retreating from that ideal toward something closer to a hybrid between the existing Medicare system and the one conservatives truly want. Along the way he's jettisoned the explicit phaseout of the public payer, the formula for setting premium contributions at a low level, and the cap. In so doing, he's actually given up on the most concrete sources of near- and long-term savings, when producing savings was supposedly the point of reforming the program in the first place.

What he hasn't, and won't ever give up on, no matter what experts ultimately conclude, is partial privatization. When push comes to shove, breaking government monopolies (and age-restricting eligibility) are the only things that really interest the GOP with respect to reforming entitlements.

His latest plan, according to the CBO, would have very modest savings compared to the status quo. For all Ryan's posturing, it's not about the deficit. It's never been about the deficit. It's been about selling off anything that's not nailed down to Wall Street. Now, Ryan's plans for Medicare have been distilled down to the point to make that glaringly obvious.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 01:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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