Theme of the 2012 Congressional races: Medicare

From the Times:

10:07 p.m. | Updated Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.

The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether the party should rethink its commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability as 2012 elections loom.

Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.

Really looking forward to seeing how this plays out in races next year.  Of course, that is a long time from now, but I still see a barrage of ominous ads with “Representative X voted to end Medicare…”

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to Theme of the 2012 Congressional races: Medicare

  1. John says:

    It doesn’t bother me that this would be the outcome from this race but the reality is there was a Tea Party candidate in this race that peeled off 7% from the repub.

    What really bothers me is how the democrats can’t seem to dominate a Party that is fundamentally opposed to Medicare and Social Security, 2 programs more popular than sliced bread.  Republicans protecting Medicare & Social Security is one of the greatest unchallenged lies in politics. What part of these big government programs could they possibly like? Could it be the government required participation ala “the individual mandate?”  The taxes required of everyone to pay for them?  The large government agencies necessary to administer them?  Or the government meddling in the free market when it comes to health care, insurance and retirement?  

    Dems need to constantly challenge repubs on these fundamentals.  So when we hear the phrase “big government liberal” they should embrace the sentiment by saying “You’re damn right! I prevent you from destroying Medicare & Social Security!”  And all they’d have to use is their own words to show that’s exactly what their goal is.  Either way, it would be great fun watching them trip all over their words to defend something that fundamentally disagrees with EVERYTHING they say about government and it’s role. 

  2. Mike Barr says:

    While I am pleased to see the hypocrites in the GOP fall in elections, I am more interested in good policies than I am in any party. Therefore I am concerned that this public relations battle is going to make it impossible for anyone to address any type of change to entitlement such as Medicare. I think the retirement age ought to be raised a bit, and there should be some type of means testing, as well as serious cost control efforts. But in today’s political climate how can anything important be addressed?

    • Steve Greene says:

      Like I said regarding Bill Clinton– it’s called the Affordable Care Act. It’s not perfect, but it makes a good start at controlling costs in Medicare and using that monopsony power to drive overall system costs down. Furthermore, there is only 1 political party that currently takes national public policy seriously. Whatever gets that party majorities is a net good thing.

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