Rick Perry’s new economic plan calls for significant changes to the country’s health care programs, a la Paul Ryan, including raising the Medicare eligibility age and potentially pushing seniors out of the government health care program and into the private health insurance market. The Texas governor also reiterates his proposal to transform the current federal matching rate states receive for Medicaid into a pre-established block grant that does not keep up with actual health care costs.
Perry touted his “spending reduction” during an appearance on Fox News Business last night, stressing that while he’s willing to significantly cut the nation’s safety net programs, he won’t limit military spending:
PERRY: We know that one of the places that Mr. [Ron] Paul is going to talk about cutting and that’s in defense. And I will tell you, I’m not ready to put our national defense on the line for that kind of a meat cleaver. So there is obviously places we can cut…you look at what Paul Ryan is doing on Medicare. There are some great members of the Congress that have plans that can help us reduce spending and let me tell you, that’s what we need to have.
But Perry has it backwards: cuts to the military would likely have almost zero impact on national security — as they would target the many wasteful, costly weapons programs, many of which are barely even used. Reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, on the other hand, would significantly increase costs for beneficiaries and the nation and undermine care for lower-income Americans who need it most.
Opinion surveys show that the public shares these priorities and routinely ranks cutting defense spending ahead of Medicare and Medicaid cuts.