The Republican attempt to destroy the highly popular Medicare program could defeat 30 or more Republican House members and lead to Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives.
The GOP's attack on Medicare is a textbook case of Republicans clutching the third rail with both hands, escalating the blunders that have cost them dearly in elections before, and alienating the voters with the kind of political theology and extremism that voters do not want and will not tolerate.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is a good and sincere man, but here is why his Medicare policy is radical and extreme:
Ryan would destroy and end Medicare. He would replace a government program with taxpayer-subsidized vouchers to pay price-gouging companies. Insurers would, of course, raise their premiums even higher, and by limiting the size of the voucher subsidies, Ryan is effectively proposing one of the largest middle-class tax increases in history.
When Ryan limits the size of his vouchers, and insurers jack up their premiums higher than the amount of the limited vouchers, consumers will pay the difference.
The real-life effect of the Republican policy is the same as a perpetual tax increase machine on Medicare recipients to subsidize a perpetual windfall profits machine for price-gouging companies.
The far better solution would be to expand Medicare or enact a public option, which would lower healthcare costs for consumers and lower the deficit for taxpayers, and to enact reforms that end many forms of price gouging that exist today and would become far worse under the Ryan plan.
The Republican attempt to destroy Medicare is a welfare program for insurers, an income transfer from taxpayers to price-gouging companies and an effective tax increase imposed on Medicare recipients, with the revenue going to insurers.
Politically, based on most polls, this will be vehemently opposed by two-thirds to three-quarters of all voters.
Financially, Ryan would balloon healthcare costs even higher by empowering companies to run amok. His plan would create huge windfall profits for insurers, paid for by hard-hit taxpayers. It would create a de facto and huge tax increase against Medicare recipients, to finance a social welfare state whose beneficiaries are insurance companies.
Where I come from, this is called corporate socialism, a welfare state for wealthy companies and a tax-and-spend Republicanism where the middle class is taxed and the wealthy get to spend the money.
This attempt to destroy Medicare will be an epic political disaster for Republicans in 2012.
Original in The Hill