April 29, 2011 11:39 am ET - by Matt Finkelstein
All over the country, voters are speaking out against the budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), which would turn Medicare into a privatized voucher system and impose a heavier burden on seniors. As a result of the backlash, some Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Newt Gingrich, have attempted to distance themselves from the proposal even though House Republicans already passed it.
Yesterday, another leading conservative took a step back from the controversial GOP plan. In a blog post at RedState.com, potential 2012 candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) explained that she supported Ryan's budget despite concerns about the Medicare scheme. "We must keep our promises to those who receive Medicare benefits," she wrote, "and those who are nearing the age of Medicare eligibility."
The House of Representatives recently signified their support of the Republican's 2012 budget proposal which will reduce the federal budget by $4.4 trillion. It does so by cutting out unnecessary spending. It would defund ObamaCare of its unspent pre-appropriated funds which are an astonishing tens of billions of dollars that were buried in the bill by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Plus, it would make the tax code flatter and simpler, making Tax Day a less dreaded time of the year. I supported that budget blueprint, though I've expressed caution about how we approach the issue of Medicare. We must keep our promises to those who receive Medicare benefits, and those who are nearing the age of Medicare eligibility. Our challenge is to reduce the soaring amounts that government spends on health care, without burdening those who are most vulnerable.
Although other Republicans maintain that the Ryan plan will "save" Medicare, the reality is that it would make life much more expensive for future seniors, while potentially raising costs for current retirees as well. As Bachmann hinted toward, it does not "keep our promises" to those nearing the age of retirement, not to mention their children and grandchildren.
Still, Bachmann supported the troublesome plan when it was introduced in the House. Despite her description of the budget as a "blueprint," Bachmann voted for actual legislation that could, at least in theory, become law.
Bachmann previously has suggested that we need to "wean everybody off" Medicare and Social Security, and she rose to prominence by positioning herself to the right of the Republican leadership. The fact that she would temper her support of the Ryan plan now is further evidence that the backlash is real — and Republicans know it.
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