From the LA Times:
President Obama will call for shrinking the nation's long-term deficits by raising taxes on wealthier Americans and requiring them to pay more into Social Security, drawing a barbed contrast with a Republican plan to save money by deeply slashing Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic spending. ...
Democrats hope to repeat the experience of 2005, in which President George W. Bush's proposal to privatize parts of Social Security proved to be a staggering miscalculation that cost his party heavily in the next year's election. They think voters will not accept a Republican proposal put forward by Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that would replace guaranteed Medicare benefits with a limited voucher.
You know, Republican Congressmen, you are back in the majority in the House now in large part because a whole bunch of older white people got worried in 2009-10 that, having paid taxes for Medicare for decades, Medicare would now suddenly get whittled down by this black liberal guy to pay for health insurance for a whole bunch of younger and not so white people who aren't very related to them.
You probably consider the motivations of your own 2010 voters to be, at minimum, zero summist -- Don't these old white bigots understand the Magic of the Market? -- and probably racist. So what if this implicit white coalition that came together to defend Medicare is your party's main chance for political survival? Old white people are creepy!
Hey, some of your 2010 voters abandoned the GOP in 2006 after Bush announced in 2005 that he wanted to take Social Security, which they had paid for for decades, and hand it over to the tender ministrations of Wall Street. (How'd that work out for you, anyway?) But you probably consider those voters who didn't trust Wall Street with their Social Security to be more or less raving anti-Semites, too, so who wants their votes?
And beginning in 2022, Ryan would privatize the Medicare program by giving seniors a subsidy to help them shop for commercial insurance.
Let's throw together tax subsidies, incredibly complicated health insurance products, customers who are going senile, and corporations staffed by bright MBAs with spreadsheets. What could possibly go wrong?
I can't think of anything I'd rather spend my declining years doing than engaging in an ongoing battle of wits with MBAs with spreadsheets on their own turf over my health insurance. (And I am an MBA with a spreadsheet. I used to be a bright one, too, but I'm already too old to try to outsmart pros who devote their careers to outsmarting civilians like me.)