Senator Ron Wyden and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled a new approach to saving the federal health program known as Medicare at a breakfast this morning hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. Senator Wyden has a record on working in a bipartisan manner searching for solutions, especially for seniors. Wyden has been a champion of seniors since he began the Oregon chapter of the Gray Panthers over thirty years ago.
The lawmakers wrote, "We are two Members of Congress who firmly believe in the iron-glad guarantee of the Medicare program, and this belief has informed our understanding of the unacceptable risk to our seniors' health and retirement security if we don't come together as a country and take action to save and strengthen Medicare. We realize our absolute responsibility to preserve the Medicare guarantee of affordible, accessible health care for everyone of the nation's seniors for decades to come."
Reviewing several blogs show Wyden experiencing some surliness from his fellow Democrats for working with, of all people, Paul Ryan.
Matt Miller of The Washington Post wrote, "With this new plan, Ryan has signed onto the idea of subsidizing people to buy coverage from well-regulated health exchanges that must take all comers and charge them similar premiums regardless of health status." Miller continues, "If that framework sounds familiar, it should - it basically descibes the dreaded Obamacare!"
Did Wyden pull Ryan into universial healthcare? Ryan now supports the Affordable Care Act model.
"Wyden has put Ryan in a box where he can be forced to admit there's no way to get our long-term fiscal house in order without higher taxes as the boomers age," states Miller. He goes on, "If the media are smart and persistent enough to to force the question of Ryan's endless debt, Wyden will have set in motion a Republican "uncle" on taxes that could fundementally alter public debate in the years ahead."
This is very complex and captivating at the same time.