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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Did Republican Proposals to End Medicare and Medicaid Put More Pressure on President Obama to Proposal Deficit Reduction

Did Republican Proposals to End Medicare and Medicaid Put More Pressure on President Obama to Proposal Deficit Reduction

Monday, 11 April 2011 04:08

Nearly every public opinion poll ever taken has shown that Medicare and Medicaid are enormously popular programs. People in all demographic and political groups support these programs by large majorities. Even the vast majority of Republicans support these programs.

This is why it is peculiar to see the Washington Post tell readers that:

"House Republicans upped the pressure on the president last week when they introduced a plan to slash government spending by $6 trillion more than the president’s plan over the next decade — largely by shrinking Medicare and Medicaid."

Given that the Republican plan to essentially end Medicare and Medicaid is likely to be enormously unpopular in addition to being bad policy (it would add more than $20 trillion to the cost to the country of buying Medicare equivalent policies for the next 75 years) it is hard to see why this would place additional pressure on President Obama to do anything. Would it increase pressure on Republicans to support tax increases on the wealthy if President Obama proposed large tax increases on the middle class?

The claim that President Obama is now under increased pressure to propose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid coincides with the Washington Post's political position (they want to see President Obama propose large cuts to the budget), but there is zero evidence presented in the article to support this claim.

Comments (11)Add Comment
President Obama has never met a surrender he couldn't get his arms around
written by caseyf5, April 11, 2011 6:07
President Obama looks at the calendar and wants to surrender all of the New Deal before the end of his presidency in 2012. He has made a good start and with his allies has a good chance to complete it on time and over budget.
written by Albert, April 11, 2011 6:12
Obama will demand more cuts to Medicaid and larger tax cuts for the wealthy.

Compromise is what the independents like.
written by izzatzo, April 11, 2011 6:29
Would it increase pressure on Republicans to support tax increases on the wealthy if President Obama proposed large tax increases on the middle class?

Why did the Republican cross the road?

To keep it level by putting more pressure on the other side.

To finance it with more tax cut pressure to increase total road tax revenue.

To take down speed limit signs and reduce the pressure on traffic.

Next from WaPo: Why did the Republican exhale?

To reduce the pressure of inhaling ...
written by union member, April 11, 2011 6:43

Why did Obama double-cross his base?

ACOs or vouchers: Both parties want to take bealth care from seniors
written by Rachel, April 11, 2011 7:07
The only difference is that the Republicans want to deny care in an upfront way, by a badly-constructed voucher mechanism. The Democrats want to use ACOs, through which doctors are rewarded for denying care. The more market power they have, the more they can get away with denying care, the more pressure the patients are under to just take it. And Democrats in Congress and in the media show no interest in arresting the growth of medical power.
I could put pressure on Obama
written by Mike B., April 11, 2011 7:57
Obama and the Democrats will be competing with the GOP for money for the 2012 elections, and this will come mostly from the wealthy. The Ryan plan shows that the GOP are fanatically devoted to the wealthy, and that the press will treat proposals such as this as serious. So I think it does put pressure on Obama to show the wealthy that he will also look after their interests.
written by bill janes, April 11, 2011 10:18
Health Care and the Current Budget "Debate"
Let's see if we can do a little prognosticating about Wednesday's results, when President Obama comes forward with a proposal for 'budget balancing'.
To help us with our fortune telling, let's look back at Obama's track record with respect to honoring the public's wishes, i.e. the desires of those who voted for him.
Health Care: 72% of Americans supported "a government-administered insurance plan—something like Medicare for those under 65—that would compete for customers with private insurers." Obama-led ‘non-reform’ gives private insurers a 20% overhead for all government-mandated - i.e. ALL - customers.
TARP & Financial Bailout: Over 70% of the American people opposed the bailout. Three years later, un- and under-employment exceed 18%; record profits for financial institutions.
Afghanistan: 64% of the American people opposed expanding the war in Afghanistan and wanted to disentangle from Bush-era ‘War on Terror’ and ‘preventive war’ policies. Today, over 60% of Americans oppose the war. The war continues.
Now, let's take a look at Obama's track record with respect to "debates" with Republicans on "significant issues":
McConnnell/Obama compromise on taxes (end of 2010) - $10,000 for every millionaire; $1 for each working family (and unemploymnent).
Government 'shut down' - Loss of $40,000,000,000 in government services.
Are you ready to predict the future?
The 'health care debate' is the model for what's happening now.
Here's how Obama handled the 'health care debate'. Obama wanted to avoid single payer and favored the Bob Dole/Mitt Romney (Republican) approach - i.e. giving tax payer dollars to private insurers at an overhead rate of 20% and mandating people to buy or be fined. To make sure that's what happened, Obama simply took the original people's mandate and the Democrats' 60-year policy goal - i.e. single payer - and let it become the victim of gun-toting Town Halls and Tea Party mau-mauing. These activities were allowed to move forward without rebuttal by the White House during the summer prior to Congressional debates.
Those activities effectively set-up the Max Baucus silent 'hearings' in which no single payer advocates could be heard.
Toward the culmination of the process, Obama made some lame remark ("I dont know what's wrong with looking at a single payer"), attempting to show 'support', but knowingly and effectively putting a final spike in the heart of sixty years of Democratic policy.
Today's budget 'debates' are a re-play of the health care scenario: Obama remains silent, allowing the Republicans to frame the debate; then Obama folds his hands and asks everyone to act like grown-ups; then Obama makes some lame remark to 'appease the liberal base'; then Obama folds and supports the Republican position.
Pity the American people for whom there are no advocates in DC.
written by kharris, April 11, 2011 11:38
There are a number of other shutdown opportunities between now and the end of the year, not to mention the election next year. A very large part of the spin game prior to the latest budget deal was making the other side guilty for the shutdown.

To the extent that Obama can offer a budget scheme that the public prefers to Ryan's (or whoever), the better his odds of either avoiding a shutdown or blaming Republicans should there be a shutdown. This seems to me (of course, since I thought of it) a more plausible explanation for the timing and topic of Obama's speech on Wednesday than Ryan's seriously silly document.
written by urban legend, April 11, 2011 3:37
The Washington Post will say whatever it damn well pleases about Social Security and Medicare. It literally does not give a crap whether it is based on fiction or ridiculous analysis. The only purpose is to soften the ground for eventually eliminating them.
written by Calgacus, April 11, 2011 5:32
Union Member:Why did Obama double-cross his base?

Because he could. See http://www.salon.com/news/opin...index.html
written by Union Member, April 12, 2011 10:02
I was hoping Izzatzo would get it; he must of thought it was a "knock-knock" joke.

Not to subtract anything from Glenn Greenwald's analysis of the politics, but I was thinking more that when people see others taking actions without consequences, your gonna see a lot more actions without consequences. (Unless of course you're innocent or vulnerable in some way, then you take the consequences for the actions of others.)

But it is why Hank Paulson did what he did, or Roger Ailes does what he does, or why BP behaved the way it did; the list of examples is endless. And they seem to be becoming more WTF: e.g. Keep in mind the way George Bush responded to Hurricane Katrina, and the way the New York Times report on Iraqi WMDs to launch a disastrous war, and ask your self - How would the U.S respond to a 9.0 earthquake, a tsunami, and a severe nuclear mishap all at the same time?

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.