. . . according to Ezra Klein. In this exchange with Paul Ryan, Klein agrees that saying funds will do two things at once is wrong:
Paul Ryan: So when I hear Sebelius and others say that we’re extending the life of Medicare with this, that can’t be claimed if you’re also using these premiums for offsets. That’s disguising the true fiscal picture that’s being painted here. The American people are hearing that if we pass this legislation it will improve our deficit situation. I’m saying that’s not true because we’re increasing these obligations and spending that money elsewhere.
The topper of this issue, which goes to the difference in our opinions, is that if you basically believe that we need the government to assert itself in this sector, then you have to global budget and, ultimately, ration. And that’s just not the path we want to get on. We believe in a decentralized system where individuals bring market forces to bear.
Ezra Klein: This is where I think we end up in different places. The philosophical differences are all fair enough. But insofar as the double counting goes, the double counting is an issue of how some Democrats are talking about this. And I agree with you. Saying that the money will do two things at once is out of line.
You know, the most insidious argument they’re making is the idea that somehow this would hurt Medicare. I know we’ve got some seniors here with us today — I couldn’t tell; you guys look great. (Laughter.) I wouldn’t have guessed. But I want to tell you directly: This proposal adds almost a decade of solvency to Medicare. (Applause.)