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Donald Trump promised to protect it. Paul Ryan wants to dismantle it as does Rep. Tom Price, Trump's pick to head the Health and Human Services Department. Democrats—Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer included—are daring Republicans to savage a program that provides health care to one of their most loyal voting demographics—seniors.
Medicare is fast becoming a political hot potato for Republicans now that they will control every part of the federal government. GOP senators, in particular, are sounding a little leery of Paul Ryan's "Better Way," which includes replacing Medicare with a voucher system that provides limited subsidies for people to buy private insurance (i.e. privatizing Medicare). Ryan and Price have both linked a Medicare overhaul to their effort to repeal Obamacare. Not so fast, writes Sahil Kapur:
“That falls under the rule of not biting off more than you can chew,” [GOP] Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in an interview. “The problems about the solvency of Medicare should be left for another debate, another discussion, and not be part of the replace and repeal” effort on Obamacare. [...]
Republican Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Chuck Grassley of Iowa all stopped short of endorsing the idea Tuesday, when asked if they want to turn Medicare into a "premium support" system in 2017.
Meanwhile Democrats are cheering the prospect as they recall battling George W. Bush's privatization effort, which many credit with the Democrats’ successful takeover of the House in the 2006 midterms.