In a Politico op-ed, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts clarifies his position on the Ryan plan: he won’t vote for it. This statement comes after some caginess about whether he’d vote for the measure or simply on it. Now, he’s definitely against it, while applauding Ryan for “getting the conversation started”:
Why can’t I go along with the Ryan Medicare plan?
First, I fear that as health inflation rises, the cost of private plans will outgrow the government premium support- and the elderly will be forced to pay ever higher deductibles and co-pays. Protecting those who have been counting on the current system their entire adult lives should be the key principle of reform.
Second, Medicare has already taken significant cuts to help pay for Obama’s health care plan. The president and Congress cut a half trillion dollars to the private side of Medicare – meaning seniors are at risk of losing their Medicare Advantage coverage.
Another key principle is that seniors should not have to bear a disproportionate burden. But that doesn’t mean we do nothing. If Medicare is to survive for current beneficiaries and future generations, we must act. The sooner Congress addresses this, the less painful it is likely to be – but more difficult adjustments will be required if we delay.
We should start by making improvements to the traditional Medicare plan.
Brown then suggests a number of conventional fixes — such as eliminating Medicare fraud and enacting tort reform — that would probably fall far short of the fiscal goals of the Ryan plan.