The Corner

Daniels Defends Medicare Reform

In addition to predicting he would beat President Obama in a presidential match-up, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels defended the House Republican budget as “the best way” to tackle Medicare reform and said he hopes it becomes a driving issue in 2012.

“I think it is the central dilemma,” he told Christiane Amanpour on ABC’s This Week. “I think it ought, therefor, to be the centerpiece of the next election. We ought to test the proposition — I have faith that the answer will be yes — that Americans are absolutely up to the job of making changes necessary, once the understand the facts.”

Amanpour asked (rather unobjectively) if there was a way to reform Medicare without excessively “burdening” seniors. Daniels’ response is pretty effective:

“There’s a way to do that that protects the most vulnerable seniors more,” he said. “I mean, another important and positive point to be made is that our current system [is] brutally unfair, it is tilted toward higher income people in many many ways. There’s no reason on earth that we should be sending Warren Buffett a pension check, or paying for Bill Gates’ healthcare or mine for that matter. And in the 2.0 system of Medicare and Social Security — for the next generation, not this one — we ought to heavily devote the resources to those who need them most.”

Of course, Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan does exactly that, providing far greater “premium support” for lower-income seniors than it does for wealthier individuals, and Ryan often argues this very point. Perhaps he should be emphasizing it more. At the risk of stooping to the Democrats’ level and engaging in class warfare, Republicans could simply drive home this point as a way to appeal to the (popular) notion of “shared sacrifice” to reduce the deficit — stressing the need for a revamped entitlement system that offers less to those who can afford to pay their own way and more for those who can’t. It certainly has a nicer ring to it that the Democratic notion of “shared sacrifice” — economy-crippling tax hikes.

Video here.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...


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