Based on Carl Hulse’s reporting from yesterday it’s clear that Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) intends to go through with his plan to replace Medicare with vouchers to buy private health insurance, and then cut spending on the vouchers.
That’s very interesting on its own terms, and is certain to produce a lot of discussion. Naturally, part of the plan here is that Ryan is going to promise currently elderly people that they’ll get all their currently promised benefits plus that he’ll undue the Medicare cuts that were part of the Affordable Care Act. The idea here is that today’s old people—a very white group that’s also hostile to gay rights, and thus sort of predisposed to like conservative politicians—will also get to benefit from an extremely generous single-payer health care system. But younger people—a less white group that’s friendly to gay rights and thus predisposed to skepticism about conservative politicians—will get to pay the high taxes to finance old people’s generous single-payer health care system, but then we won’t get to benefit from it. This is in part in order to clear headroom in the budget so as to make gigantic tax cuts for rich people affordable.
But what Hulse doesn’t report on is Ryan’s thinking about tax reform. This is an important element of Ryan’s original “roadmap” plan that’s never gotten the attention it deserves. But according to a Center for Tax Justice analysis (PDF), even though Ryan features large aggregate tax cuts, ninety percent of Americans would actually pay higher taxes under his plan:
In other words, it wasn’t just cuts in middle class benefits in order to cut taxes on the rich. It was cuts in middle class beefits and middle class tax hikes in order to cut taxes on the rich. It’ll be interesting to see if the House Republicans formally introduce such a plan and if so how many people will vote for it.