Bloggers are engaged in a back-and-forth over the motives behind newly expressed Republican support for Medicare following Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s op-ed and release of a ”Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights.”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein responds to Steele’s political move:
Still, what we’re seeing here is the GOP swearing that they will protect, defend and preserve a single-payer health-care system. And this comes after months spent fighting a “government takeover” of health care. … But there’s nothing exceptional about this move: Britain’s conservative party supports the socialized National Health Service. Canada’s conservative party supports the country’s single-payer system. And America’s conservative party supports Medicare. The thing about government-run health care is that it’s really, really popular, and it’s really, really popular because people like it.
Hot Air’s Allah Pundit recognizes the program’s popularity, calling Steele’s op-ed “cynical but effective.” But the blogger is uncomfortable with the long-term consequences of such a move:
The political benefits are obvious and there’s a gratifying touch of poetic justice in using the entitlement mindset of a high-turnout demographic to try to derail the mother of all entitlement programs. …… Actually, I think the fact that the head of the RNC’s been reduced to taking this position at all proves the necessity of stopping ObamaCare now, even if it means a Faustian bargain. Such is the British dependency on universal health care that even Tory leader David Cameron is forced to regularly reassure Britons that conservatives “support the NHS 100%.”
Also on Medicare, John Goodman uses Alfred E. Neuman to argue that “most seniors have no reason to care if Medicare costs go up” because of a provision in the program that protects about three-fourths of beneficiaries in the event that social security payments do not increase concurrently with Medicare premiums.
Concerning the “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights”, Jason Rosenbaum of Health Care for America Now says the current health overhaul bills allow for the items outlined and responds, “We’re glad Republicans recognize how good health reform will be for seniors, veterans, and for everyone in this country. What makes the whole thing curious if the fact that they’re dead set against health care reform legislation. Seems like if they really wanted to protect seniors, they’d be for it.”
Some other conservatives are caught up on whether certain provisions of the Democratic health overhaul bills, including an individual mandate to purchase health insurance, are consitutional. AEI’s Douglas Smith concludes, “Such concerns only underscore the need to give any proposal careful consideration and not to rush it through Congress without an opportunity for an open and honest debate on the implications of the legislation,” while Heritage’s Conn Carroll praises a Washington Post op-ed making the argument.
Meanwhile, liberal blogging powerhouse Think Progress has a post arguing that Republican Senate Finance Commitee negotiatior Chuck Grassley has “adopted the rhetoric of the far right.” No doubt they’ll be watching the senator’s statements on Medicare.