GOP staffers and pollsters warned in vain against House vote on Ryan’s Medicare plan


Six weeks ago this coming Friday, all but four Republicans in the U.S. House voted in favor of Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposed budget plan, which includes a massive overhaul of Medicare.

The result of that vote has thus far been a political disaster. It has rejuvenated the Democrats, spurred protests at town hall meetings and spawned poll after poll showing widespread opposition to meddling with Medicare.

But it isn’t as if GOP House leaders weren’t warned of such consequences.

Glenn Thrush and Jake Sherman of Politico.com EXPLAIN how Republican dissenters were steamrolled during the run-up to the fateful vote.

A few excerpts:

The poll numbers on the plan were so toxic — nearly as bad as those of President Barack Obama’s health reform bill at the nadir of its unpopularity — that staffers with the National Republican Congressional Committee warned leadership, “You might not want to go there” in a series of tense pre-vote meetings.

But go there Republicans did, en masse and with rhetorical gusto — transforming the political landscape for 2012, giving Democrats a new shot at life and forcing the GOP to suddenly shift from offense to defense.


GOP pollsters, political consultants and House and NRCC staffers vividly reminded leadership that their members were being forced to walk the plank for a piece of quixotic legislation. They described for leadership the horrors that might be visited on the party during the next campaign, comparing it time and again with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to ram through a cap-and-trade bill despite the risks it posed to Democratic incumbents. 



  1. Neftali

    We’re still waiting for the Democrat’s plan. Their only strategy so far appears to be be make fun of the Republicans for having the guts to present their working solution first. Meanwhile, we’re inching closer every day to defaulting on our debt. Way to go, liberals.

  2. Neftali: The only way we’ll default is if the pinhead Republicans vote against raising the debt ceiling, which is what some of them are threatening to do. Some of those idiots are even saying that default would be no BFD.

  3. expdoc

    Yep that’s the ticket….

    raise the debt ceiling and hope the spending problem just goes away…

    or at least doesn’t rear it’s ugly head again until some poor other schmuck is in office.

    I call that responsible leadership Democrat style….

  4. Poor doc! Once again, he’s demonstrating his astonishing ignorance of American political history.

    Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 separate times to permanently raise, temporarily extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit – 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents.

    Ah, but now that Obama is in favor of raising the debt limit, many Republicans are against it, because….well, because they don’t favor anything Obama favors.

    Worse yet, some of them contend that default would be no big problem.

    What idiocy! But, hey, doc likes it!

  5. expdoc

    Poor Pat,

    Like most liberals he has no grasp of basic math or banking skills.

    We can raise the debt limit as high as we want, we can print as many dollars as we want but in the end, the bill is going to come due.

    When will we have responsible leaders that actually want to address the spending disaster we are facing and act like adults?

    You know, more guys (and gals) like Paul Ryan?

  6. Poor doc! His pathological Obamaphobia has blinded him to the fact that default on our debt could well trigger a global financial collapse — despite the casual attitude of his right-wing heroes.

    Worse yet. now he’s babbling about “banking skills,” whatever the hell that means.

    Banking skills? Is that like knowing how to use an ATM or how to write a check?

  7. Ryan’s plan adds over 30 TRILLION dollars in overall costs to beneficiaries. That’s the kind of change we don’t need. It is simply a gift to the insurance companies.

  8. Jerry Critter: Shame on you!

    That report to which you linked is only going to confuse expdoc.

  9. Neftali

    There are like, 5, perhaps 10 Republican tops in Congress that don’t believe defaulting on our debt is an issue. There are crazies in every party.

    The simple fact is that almost all Republicans WILL vote to extend the debt ceiling, but they want spending reforms put in place first so that we don’t have to raise the ceiling any further.

    Its a perfectly reasonable request, and there is simply no reason to go along with this strategy. However, instead of implementing spending reforms, Democrats in Congress want to kick the can down the road, and blame the Republicans for trying to resolve the problem. That’s not leadership, its cowardice.

  10. Neftali

    blah…no reason to NOT go along….my proofreading still sucks…

  11. expdoc

    “That’s not leadership, its cowardice.”

    I couldn’t have said it better Neftali.

  12. Here is another one — how about doubling the cost to seniors. Yeah, Ryan’s plan is real good for us!

  13. Neftali

    Jerry – Know of a better, realistic plan that can be passed in the next two months?

    Le’t examine some of the liberal solutions I’ve read in the past week on various cites:
    1 – Single Payer – Oh, please. Not even a feasible solution with a vast Republican majority in the House
    2. Tax increases for the rich – Exuberant tax increases will never fly, and its doubtful Boehner will let even reasonable tax increases be voted on at this time.
    3. Eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse? Please, every administration tries to do this with minimal success.

    Ryan’s plan will eventually eliminate the deficit. (Granted, over a period of decades) But the end result is not in dispute. What’s the liberal plan to eliminate the deficit?

  14. The People’s Budget. It does it quicker, better, and easier.

  15. Neftali

    Jerry – Excellent comeback, but It has no chance of being passed. I gave it a quick glance, and there are some things I like in this proposal. Will provide a complete breakdown after later this evening.

  16. <a href=\\"http://www.angrybearblog.com/2011/05/medicare-breaks-inflation-curve.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FHzoh+%28Angry+Bear%29&utm_content=Google+Reader\\">Here</a> is another reason to keep Medicare as it is. It is keeping down healthcare costs better than private insurance.

  17. Whoops! Let me try again.

    Here is another reason to keep Medicare as it is. It is keeping down healthcare costs better than private insurance.

  18. expdoc

    That’s because hospitals have virtually no choice but to accept Medicare patients.

    Medicare and Medicaid don’t pay for the full costs of many services and the hospitals shift the costs to those patients who either have no insurance or to the insurance companies.

  19. Costs or profits?

  20. expdoc

    That would be costs Jerry. Most community hospitals are not-for -profit organizations.

  21. …which shows you that Medicare can hold down medical costs better than private insurance companies. Insurance companies pay more because they can, (the same as your answer to my question a while ago as to why US doctors earn twice as much as European doctors in terms of purchasing power). All they do is raise their rates and people have to pay them. The more they pay out, the more they can raise their rates, and the more profit they make. They have incentive (profit) to increase medical costs, not decrease them. Only Medicare has incentive to reduce costs because they have to raise taxes to increase spending (or increase the deficit).

  22. expdoc

    You certainly think like a liberal Jerry.

    Let’s carry your thought process all the way through to single payer, your personal liberal dream.

    Medicare and Medicaid become the only payers in the system and continue to reimburse physicians and hospitals for care at a rate that is less than what it costs to provide the care.

    Certainly “costs” will be held down, but then again, there will be no one left to provide care. Is that really the goal of health care reform?

    IF you really want to control costs just get rid of health care period. Then your cost will be zero and the problem will be solved right?

  23. expdoc


    Doctors are blaming financial pressures on the NHS for an increase in the number of patients who are not being treated within the 18 weeks that the government recommends.

    New NHS performance data reveal that the number of people in England who are being forced to wait more than 18 weeks has risen by 26% in the last year, while the number who had to wait longer than six months has shot up by 43%.

    In March this year, 34,639 people, or 11% of the total, waited more than that time to receive inpatient treatment, compared with 27,534, or 8.3%, in March 2010 – an increase of 26% – Department of Health statistics show.

    Similarly, in March this year some 11,243 patients who underwent treatment had waited for more than six months, compared with 7,841 in the same month in 2010 – a 43% rise.

  24. Again, you use an extreme example, just like when someone talks about increasing taxes, the opposition says “will if you raise taxes to 100%, nobody will work.

    One way to control costs is to put pressure on providers through fees paid. Businesses do that through limiting wages all the time. Single payer has been proven over and over again, throughout the world, to be the most effective way to provide health care. The government, through Medicare, consistently does it better and cheaper that private industry.

    The US is the only country where private insurance companies are allowed to make a profit providing primary health insurance. And they make their profit by charging excessive premiums and denying health care.

    They profit from death, whereas their business should be life!

  25. Walnut

    The government is a model of efficiency. I am confident the will do just as well or better managing healthcare.

    I hope I spellled it right ditrict 205 taught me well.

  26. expdoc

    They profit from death?

    No hyperbole there..

    Insurance companies don’t profit from death, they profit from increasing premiums, decreasing utilization and decreasing reimbursement to providers.

    But if patients die they don’t have any revenue at all, if patients (or employers) don’t choose to sign up with them because they are hard to deal with or their coverage stinks then they lose customers, if providers refuse to participate in their networks they have no plan to offer..

    The difference between the government and insurance companies is that providers and patients can NEGOTIATE with insurance companies and they are unable to negotiate with the government.

  27. expdoc

    By the way, the “extreme example” you accused me of using is only the fact of what single payer would yield in the USA.

    Why are you advocating such an extreme solution to the healthcare issue in the US Jerry?

    Has your hatred of profit and evil corporations clouded your judgement?

    Here is a link with data that explains how Medicare reimbursement works relative to cost (at least in New Mexico).


  28. Neftali

    “The US is the only country where private insurance companies are allowed to make a profit providing primary health insurance”

    That’s a complete fabrication. Australia and Singapore both allow you to purchase private insurance for a profit. I’m sure there are many others. Yes, both of those countries do offer their own equivalent to the public option, but they certainly also allow private insurance which does cost more, but offers quicker, more premium service.

  29. expdoc

    I think I may have posted here before about a recent meeting I had with a regional administrator from the public health system in Australia. She was in charge of the 3 public hospitals in the area of Brisbane and lamented about how underfunded her system had become.

    She marvelled at the health care options available to Americans and noted that they were even greater than those seen at the “private” hospitals in her region.

    We don’t want a 2 tiered system in this country, we want a system with access for all patients to a market based system as I have described multiple times previously.

    Patients MUST have control of their own healthcare dollars, otherwise we have no chance of controlling costs while maintaining quality and innovation.

  30. The whole purpose of insurance is shared cost. Ryan’s plan shifts the cost back to the individual, at the cost of thousands of dollars per year and adding over 30 TRILLION (see comment #7) in overall costs, much of that going to profits of the insurance companies.

    Sorry, I would rather have my money going to someone’s health care than to some CEO’s yacht!

  31. Milton Waddams


    How many people do you have in your office to handle billing? By billing I mean insurance coding. Wouldn’t it be nice to not need that employee and related costs?

  32. expdoc


    The people in my office that handle billing are there to deal with Medicare and Medicaid billing issues as much as anything else.

    If you have a billing error with Aetna it can be settled via negotiation and repayment. Have a billing error with Medicare (either in your advantage or in Medicare’s advantage) and you can be charged with fraud and go to jail.

    We spend much of our overhead complying with rules and regulations put in place by the government. That wouldn’t go away, in fact, it would probably get worse.

  33. Milton Waddams

    I stand corrected. I had heard that there was a lot of effort involved in coding procedures properly so that they are covered by a particular insurance plan, etc.

  34. “you can be charged with fraud and go to jail”

    Oh, come on, doc. More exaggeration and fear-mongering. Just how often does that happen with billing errors! And if there is fraud, that’s not a billing error, and you should go to jail.

  35. Expdoc

    Fear mongering for who? I’m glad you are concerned for my personal welfare Jerry. You have no idea what you are talking about.

    A billing error is fraud in the eyes of CMS Jerry. They collect triple damages plus interest.

  36. Yea right. And the jails are overflowing with doctors because of billing errors. And here I thought the jails were overflowing because of drug offenses.

    Silly me!

  37. expdoc

    Where did I say the jails were overflowing with doctors?

    You’re really not too smart Jer’.

    The jails aren’t overflowing with doctors because most of us hire additional staff to make sure we are in compliance with federal and state regulation. Then we can stay out of jail.

    We haven’t even touched on HIPPA yet which is another, essentially worthless federal boondoggle.

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