Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
If Ruth Marcus had talked to any serious health economists about the Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it--or even read the CBO's report--she would know that the Ryan plan is really scary. She didn't. She doesn't.
Matthew Yglesias surveys the wreckage:
‘Mediscare’ Works Because The Consequences of Privatizing Medicare Are Scary: [Ruth Marcus's] weekend remarks on Medicare... reveal that the right is having some success in its plan to cry “mediscare” in an effort to avoid criticism of its Medicare privatization scheme. Here’s what she said on Meet The Press:
MARCUS: This play has been run time after time. If you go back and look at the quotes from President Clinton back when he needed to win re-election, they sound a lot like the quotes from Democrats today about don’t let those Republicans take away your Medicare. The difference is that the debt is bigger, the deficit is bigger, the gap is bigger, and the situation is more dire. But I think that, sadly, the lesson of New York 26 is “mediscare” works.
Here’s what’s true:
If you go back and look at the quotes from the time Congressional Republicans tried to privatize Medicare in the mid-1990s they do sound a lot like the quotes from the time Congressional Republicans tried to privatize Medicare in 2011. That’s because many people believe that it would be a bad idea to privatize Medicare, so every time the congressional leadership tries to privatize Medicare you have people speaking up against this idea. And we speak up against it in similar terms because the terms that have been used in the past are politically effective. And they’re politically effective because the consequences of privatizing Medicare are scary.
As I’ve been at paints to point out, the key consequence of privatization would be a steep increase in the per unit cost of health care services.... Paul Ryan’s version of privatization then “saves” a tiny bit of money for the taxpayer by simply paying a much smaller share of the now much-higher bill... the consequences are scary.
I must say I will be genuinely surprised if Ruth Marcus has a Washington Post to work for in five years...