Political Whiplash

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story yesterday about one of the quickest position reversals in the history of American politics. Ever since Paul Ryan was chosen as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, we have been hearing about the plight of poor granny–destined to a future of inadequate vouchers to pay for care that she will not be able to afford. Oh, the horror of it all. Those evil vouchers. Well, not so fast.

President Obama promised, “And I will — I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.”

Hot Air reports:

But back in Washington, his Health and Human Services Department is launching a pilot program that would shift up to 2 million of the poorest and most-vulnerable seniors out of the federal Medicare program and into private health insurance plans overseen by the states.

The administration has accepted applications from 18 states to participate in the program, which would give states money to purchase managed-care plans for people who are either disabled or poor enough to qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. HHS approved the first state plan, one for Massachusetts, last month.

Paul Ryan’s vouchers were optional, President Obama’s are required.

Ed Morrissey points out that the plan may actually be a good plan–similar to the Medicare Advantage plan that Obamacare eliminated. The problem is, however, that the choice is taken out of the hands of the American citizen–not something we should encourage our government to do.

The article ends with an update:

Update: A couple of commenters object to my description of this as a “voucher” program — but that’s how Democrats describe Ryan’s plan, and that doesn’t have “vouchers,” either.  It’s a premium-support plan in a federal exchange of insurance plans approved by Medicare for coverage.  That’s what Medicare Advantage did too, and Obama raided it to pay for the Medicaid expansion in ObamaCare.  This plan doesn’t even have the federal exchange that Ryan envisioned, but fifty different exchanges doling out federal dollars.  Like I wrote, the plan and the experiment is worth trying, but it’s precisely the kind of push into private insurance that Obama swore the day earlier he’d never do … and he’s doing it with the poorest seniors with only an opt-out in some states rather than the opt-in that Ryan’s plan provided.  I’ll put quote marks on “voucher” in the headline, but this mechanism only differs from Ryan’s in that the exchanges get managed by the states rather than Medicare.

No wonder people don’t trust politicians.

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