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Yes, Ron Wyden built that Medicare plan with Paul Ryan

Yes, Ron Wyden built that Medicare plan with Paul Ryan

Ron Wyden has rolled out a Cory Booker-like hostage statement rejecting the notion that he and Paul Ryan cooperated in developing a solution to the looming Medicare collapse.  Via Roll Call, Ron Wyden Takes Issue With Mitt Romney Linking Him to Paul Ryan:

At a Saturday campaign stop with his new vice presidential pick, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), Romney praised the House Budget chairman’s work with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) to develop a Medicare overhaul plan.

“This man said, ‘I’m going to find Democrats to work with.’ He found a Democrat to co-lead a piece of legislation that makes sure we can save Medicare,” Romney said in Ashland, Va. “Republicans and Democrats coming together. He’s a man who has great ideas and the capacity to lead to find people to cross the aisle – to work together.”

Wyden was quick to push back on Romney’s version of events.

“Gov. Romney is talking nonsense. Bipartisanship requires that you not make up the facts. I did not ‘co-lead a piece of legislation.'” Wyden said. “I wrote a policy paper on options for Medicare. Several months after the paper came out, I spoke and voted against the Medicare provisions in the Ryan budget.”

Ron Wyden did a lot more than merely write a policy paper.  Wyden joined with Ryan in a plan in their official capacities:

The plan started with an introduction which, in hindsight, was prophetic (emphasis mine):

Before the partisan attacks begin to escalate and the 2012 election ads start to air, we are outlining a plan for how Democrats and Republicans can work together to ensure that American retirees – now and forever – have quality, affordable health insurance.

Our plan would strengthen traditional Medicare by permanently maintaining it as a guaranteed and viable option for all of our nation’s retirees. At the same time, our plan would expand choice for seniors by allowing the private sector to compete with Medicare in an effort to offer seniors betterquality and more-affordable health care choices.

We are a Democrat and Republican; a Senator and a Representative; senior members of our respective Budget Committees; and members of the committees that have jurisdiction over Medicare and health care costs. As budgeteers, we understand the difficulty presented by demographic changes over the next several decades. As members with policy oversight, we recognize and encourage the potential for innovation to improve care and hold down costs. And most important, as representatives of hardworking Americans in Oregon and Southern Wisconsin, we realize our absolute responsibility to preserve the Medicare guarantee of affordable, accessible health care for every one of the nation’s seniors for decades to come.

It may not have been a piece of legislation, but it was a big deal when it was announced in December 2011. As reported by WaPo:

Wyden is the first elected Democrat to publicly endorse Ryan’s premium support plan, and their unusual alliance could complicate election-year politics for both parties on an explosive issue. In recent days, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has embraced the Ryan privatization plan, and GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich has offered qualified support. Democrats, meanwhile, have been gearing up to challenge the GOP across the board on the issue, accusing Republicans of pushing to “end the Medicare guarantee.” ….

Wyden said that adding traditional Medicare to Ryan’s premium support plan combines the best ideas of both parties, creating “the opportunity for progressives and conservatives to come together and address the real challenges” of the federal entitlement program: rising health costs and an aging population.

“There’s a lot to work with here in terms of trying to find common ground,” Wyden said. “This doesn’t end Medicare as we know it. People can go to bed knowing that traditional Medicare will be there for them for all time.”

Wyden was excoriated by Democrats, as reported by a blogger at HuffPo at the time:

When Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon partnered with Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to propose Medicare reform, Wyden was promptly denounced by New York Times columnist and Nobel Economics laureate Paul Krugman as a “useful idiot” who did “a bad, bad thing.”  Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, dismissed the initiative as “lipstick on the pig,” and Representative Pete Stark (D-California) hyperventilated that the new proposal “ends Medicare as we know it, plain and simple.”   ….

Wyden is adamant that “Medicare is the most important fiber in the social safety net.  I would never do anything to shred it, weaken it or harm it in any way.  Our proposal places traditional Medicare, long supported by progressives, alongside a menu of private alternatives that provide the choice and competition long supported by conservatives.”

David Dayen of Firedoglake reported at the time:

The news that Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Paul Ryan have joined forces on a premium support/Medicare hybrid has gone over like a lead balloon in the Democratic caucus, as well as the White House. First off, Democrats in the House showed little interest in the plan, which would allow private companies on a regulated exchange to compete with fee-for-service Medicare, with a competitive bidding process determining the level of premium support.

As Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) told Bloomberg this morning, “I don’t know why Ron Wyden is giving cover” to Ryan. Other Democratic aides piled on: “For starters, this is bad policy and a complete political loser,” an aide told Talking Points Memo’s Brian Beutler. “On top of the terrible politics, they even admit that it dismantles Medicare but achieves no budgetary savings while doing so — the worst of all worlds. Thanks for nothing.” […]

Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) weighs in: “Despite Wyden’s claims otherwise, the Wyden-Ryan plan ends Medicare as we know it, plain and simple. If these two get their way, senior citizens’ health coverage will depend on what big insurance offers and what seniors — most of them on modest, fixed incomes — can afford. That combination will jeopardize health and economic security for seniors.”

Since Ryan was named as the Veep pick, Democrats have been furiously denying history on the Ryan-Wyden Plan.  Think Progress searches for a big distinction between the Ryan-Wyden Plan and proposed legislation, but admits that there is a “striking resemblance”:

The plan Sen. Wyden co-authored with Ryan does bear a striking resemblance to the proposed Medicare changes in Ryan’s latest budget for the House GOP. Both keep traditional Medicare as a kind of public option, in an exchange where it would compete with private plans offering insurance to seniors. The government would give seniors support for purchasing these plans, and that support would be benchmarked to the cost of the second-least expensive plan. The plans would also be prohibited from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions.

The fact is that Ron Wyden built a plan with Paul Ryan to save Medicare while introducing a private marketplace for insurance for those who choose that option.

The Ryan-Wyden plan will resemble very closely the type of steps which will eventually have to be taken.

But, as Wyden predicted in the introduction to the plan, “the partisan attacks [will] begin to escalate and the 2012 election ads [will] start to air.”  And now Wyden is running for cover under air assault from Democrats once again.


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The Collectivist’s Ministry of Truth spins up.

Wyden has been chastened for his ThoughtCrime, and all that remains is to create a new “narrative” on this topic.

Ron Wyden became a Senator thanks to seniors in Oregon. The Dems can’t vilify Ryan if Wyden is connected to his plan. That is why Wyden is cowardly backpedaling from this. We need to stop the Democrats from trying to re-write history. And Wyden shows what a lying crap weasel he is (although I suppose they would privately say it is not personal just “business”).

Sad moment for truth or honesty. What won’t the Dems say or do to get this guy re-elected? How low or in denial can they go? The bottomless pit seems to be the limit.

Ron Wyden has never been the sharpest tool in the shed.

I recall when, in 1996, during his initial run for the Senate, he was given a globe and asked to point out where Iraq (IIRC) was … and he couldn’t do it.

At that point, I marked him down someone who is more stupid than Algore.

Black is white. Up is down. The blatant lies never end.

Wyden is a vicious, backstabbing coward.

So much for “Profiles in Courage” 2012 version.

DINORightMarie | August 14, 2012 at 10:06 am

Amazing that Democrats still don’t realize that the facts are openly available, and prove them to be lying liars.

That picture you posted is case in point: EPIC takedown material!! Truly a picture that speaks 1000 words – exposing the lies, false denials, and low-life thuggery that is the Dem party today.

In 2010 the Dems lost mightily after denying the people’s dissatisfaction, our anger, at the blatant lying and shenanigans that were going on in DC (e.g. ObamaCareTax).

The just don’t get it – these Alinsky-ite ideologues are too inbred.

So now it’s a big sin to work with the other side on the important issues of the day?

The Democrats at the national level are not just burning their bridges, they are carpet-bombing them and the surrounding area.

Feh..facts and in print? Who needs ’em.

Midwest Rhino | August 14, 2012 at 10:14 am

Democrats seem to get taken to the woodshed for any hint of bipartisan effort. Given the complete reversals they often make, there must be extreme pressure torture devices in that woodshed.

I looked for some videos supporting this bipartisan effort. In this seven minute video, doctors praise the bipartisan effort. They loved the idea of putting some competition in the fee for service plans.

February 29, 2012: During the Senate Budget Committee Hearing to analyze putting health care spending on a sustainable path, Chairman Conrad asked panelists Dr. David Cutler, Dr. Len Nichols, and James C Capretta to weigh in on Senator Wyden’s bipartisan Medicare proposal with Representative Paul Ryan.

Haha, Wyden is sweatin’ out that knock on the door in the middle of the night now, huh?

But come on guys, why do they keep hyperventilating on the words “End of Medicare as we know it!!1!” Isn’t that the point? To end it and replace it with something that’s actually sustainable? Sheesh.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | August 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

Here’s a video clip of Wyden promoting his involvement with Ryan’s Medicare reform plan on MSNBC:

I’m 90% sure he and Ryan appeared together on Kudlow’s show on CNBC, but I did “video searches” on the CNBC website but I can’t find it.

    AMAZING what these GOP animators can produce…!!!

    Watching that, you’d almost believe that Wyden actually said those things…

    on camera…

    with audio…

      MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to Ragspierre. | August 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

      The vid was uploaded by someone going by the handle “SenRonWyden”. Click the name to see other vids that person has uploaded. It takes you to a screen with the heading, “Senator Ron Wyden’s Official Youtube Page”.

      Those GOP animators are clever rascals. They went to the trouble to make us think that Senator Wyden’s staff actually created an official Youtube page for him. Then they loaded that “official” page with a whole bunch of videos to promote Senator Wyden.

      It’s so diabolical it smells like the work of Karl Rove.

Wyden has “evolved.”

This shows dems dont give a damn about seniors. The dems give a damn about politics. The dems give a damn about having medicare as a club to beat repubs with.

Joseph Rago: The Forgotten History of Ryan’s Medicare Reform

“How the House budget chairman developed his premium-support concept, which was originally supported by Democrats. It’s the only plan that won’t send grandma over a cliff.”


Ain’t no one gonna’ blame me for this plague stuff that Joey and this Fareed guy did, I tells ya!

I am not sure about all of this, but I do know that I would like to see a photo of Ryan with his shirt off. Maybe someone doing re-con can help.

Insufficiently Sensitive | August 14, 2012 at 11:11 am

We need a new Arthur Koestler to write a sequel to ‘Darkness at Noon’, exposing the techniques that the Democrat party uses on any of its minions who dare to think up their own solutions for the benefit of the general public, rather than the Party.

Abject reversals of earlier public positions taken by Cory Booker and Ron Wyden indicate some form of torture is being applied, whether financial or psychological. Do they fear full excommunication from their social peers in the Party?

One of the major qualifications of a Democrat, leader or follower, is to lack character and conviction. A corresponding requirement is that it’s necessary for these deficiencies to be natural to them. That’s why it’s so easy for these people to lie and for their followers to accept their contradiction without question. If they had character they would feel shame, but these weasels say out loud what many of us would be ashamed to even think of.

What is it about cowardice and Democrats that makes them such a matched pair?

Good Presidential or VP debate question.

Actually, the Ryan/Wyden plan is so attractive to this senior that I would like to see it made available to everyone right away instead of applying it only to those under 55. Inasmuch as traditional Medicare is an option, how could anyone logically oppose it.

Just goes to show what a worthless concept “bipartisanship” is for its own sake.

In this case, it produced something not too bad that both sides could live with. So the Democrats lie about it.

To Republicans, it’s usually THE excuse for surrendering to Democrats. To Democrats, it’s a way to get Republicans to cave in a diplomatic sort of way..
Worst of all: Democrats never stop accusing Republicans, who are constantly surrendering under the flag of “bipartisanship,” of right-wing hyper-partisanship.

I say again–just goes to show what a worthless concept “bipartisanship” is.

    ALman in reply to CalMark. | August 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Yes, it’s fine as long as the “crowd” applauds or doesn’t kick up a fuss. But, let them cry out in disapproval, will there goes “bipartianship” – sold out along with the rest of the farm.

Brave LI, you’ve done it yet again, shoving their lies back down their throats.

On a general note, although a reader for quite a while (HT to Hot Air for the link) LI has become one of the first places I check when I hear something from the fanatic left. You and your associates vetting, linking to source materials and footnoting leaves little wiggle room for the leftistas to spin further lies.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to danf. | August 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Plus you can soak up all the LI goodness to a Led Zeppelin soundtrack (see upper right).

Henry Hawkins | August 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Well, who am I to believe, Ron Wyden or my own lying eyes?

To be a Democrat, you must be an accomplished liar. You have to lie about the policies you are for, what their effects have been, your political associates and their activities, your rewards to your cronies and thugs. Wyden is just doing his job.

We need to go all Joe Wilson on these people, right up to their Dear Leader.

Midwest Rhino | August 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm

One thing Wyden disagreed with Ryan on, just a month ago, was the block grants to states for Medicaid. As it is now, I think the feds just match the state spending. Ryan suggested giving block grants, which would perhaps encourage savings by the states.

But they seem to agree that the big problem is that too many politicians are happy with the excess spending, since it keeps their lobbyists happy.

[…] Scrambling, for certain. And he’s doing it so completely that he’s giving us a basis from which to conduct our experiment. […]

This is what I love about this blog… Researched well and fully verified.

The very qualities that send democrats running, screaming and ultimately lying in an attempt to nullify the truth.

Keep it up Prof… But watch or for them thar’ black helicopters just in case the anointed one wins another four…

Ahh, good ol’ Wyden. At least he’s not Jeff Merkley. Some would say Senator Wyden represents the state of New York, not Oregon. He currently lives there with his wife and two kids. There is some debate lately as he apparently owns property in Oregon but he seems to spend most of his time in NYC or DC. Many Dems here want him out. For some amusing dem on dem action, check out bojack’s blog.

The entire Roll Call article could be summed up in the last sentence: “The mere fact that Wyden was at one point involved in Ryan’s Medicare proposals could undermine that Democratic message – and Wyden seems to know it.”

[…] Silly Politics of Mediscare Ryan’s Budget Is Radical? Far From It Yes, Ron Wyden built that Medicare plan with Paul Ryan Bad talking point of the day: Would Ryan’s Medicare plan force seniors to pay thousands more for […]