An honest debate over Medicare’s future may be too much to hope for in an election year. But candidates should think twice before staking out positions that could tie their hands in next year’s unavoidable showdown over public debts and Medicare spending.
After all, 50 percent will win and actually have to govern. That’s why it’s a big mistake to allow the leading bipartisan proposal for Medicare reform — the Wyden-Ryan plan — to fall victim to election-year Medagoguery.
It’s the brainchild of Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, a progressive Medicare champion who once led a Gray Panthers chapter in Oregon, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the Budget Committee and darling of tea party conservatives. If this political odd couple can agree on a balanced way to slow the unsustainable growth of Medicare costs, there may be hope for real entitlement reform yet.
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