Editor’s Note: Errol luigi is the organize of “Inside City Hall,” a nightly political display on NY1, a brand-new York all-news channel. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

You are watching: Does paul ryan want to get rid of medicare

Confirming the warnings and also worst fears of progressives, residence Speaker Paul Ryan made it plain this week: the ultimate aim of Republican lawmakers – and also their number one priority in January – is come shrink the Medicare regimen that gives health insurance to the elderly and also disabled.

“Next year we’re walk to have to get back at entitlement reform,” Ryan said on a Wisconsin radio speak show, phone call Medicare the “biggest entitlement that’s got to have actually reform.”


That’s password for resuming a decades-long fight against government-supported health treatment by conservatives, who battled bitterly versus the development of Medicare in 1965 and have to be trying to cripple or death the program ever before since.

Recall that the development of health insurance because that America’s poor and elderly – something that President take care of Truman attempted, there is no success, in 1945, 1947 and also 1949 – to be frustrated at every turn by conservative in both political parties.

together gendergeek.org contributor Julian Zelizer has actually recounted, the program ultimately got passed complying with the democratic landslide of 1964, when President lindon Johnson’s re-election against Barry Goldwater brushed up commanding democratic majorities right into the house (295 seats) and Senate (68 seats).

Democrats obtained the long-sought regime for senior health care: in 1965 Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law through Truman sit at his side. The ex-president to be enrolled together the program’s very first member.

but conservative opposition never wavered or waned. In the closing weeks before final passage of the Medicare bill, Ronald Reagan – then a increasing star in conservative Republican politics – recorded a famous message calling Medicare “socialism” and urging voters to call member the Congress and also urge a “no” vote.


If Medicare must pass, Reagan warned, “behind it will certainly come other federal programs the will invade every area of liberty as we have actually known that in this country. And if you don’t carry out this and also if i don’t do it, among these work we space going to invest our sunset years telling our children and also our children’s children, what it once was choose in America when males were free.”

because that a certain kind of hard-right conservative Republican, Reagan’s speak to remains relevant and also urgent come this day. Having failed come repeal Medicare bald – the regimen is wildly popular, serving an ext than 55 million seniors (about 15% of the us population, claims AARP) and disabled american – Republicans have actually moved to a three-part “starve the beast” strategy.

part one is to slash taxes and drastically lower the amount of revenue easily accessible to the federal government. The tax bill the GOP majorities freshly approved in both homes of congress accomplishes the nicely, including $1 sunshine to the federal spending plan deficit under the most optimistic financial scenario, according to the nonpartisan joint Committee top top Taxation.

part two the the setup is to all of sudden recoil in fear at the reality of the budget deficit (yes, the exact same one that Republicans happy conjured up by cut taxes). Ryan’s radio interview is a action in that direction. “Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the huge drivers of ours debt,” he claimed – simply days ~ happily including a sunshine to the tab with taxes cuts.

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Piling up debt and deficits to adjust the stage for the third and concluding strategy: to lower the debt by dialing earlier Medicare eligibility, lowering the benefits and also otherwise crippling the program.

democrats warned around this transparent the debate over the tax reduced bill, which passed there is no a single Democratic vote in the home or Senate. They should now equipment up because that a showdown with Ryan and other conservative who room poised to take it a huge step in the direction of finishing a regime that Reagan Republicans wanted to eliminate from day One.