Actually, Most Republicans Are Coming Around on Medicare Changes

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 13 2011 1:11 PM

Actually, Most Republicans Are Coming Around on Medicare Changes

Ezra Klein links to this poll:

 

Advertisement

The most popular position in the GOP’s coalition isn’t that Medicare needs a complete overhaul, as Ryan thinks. It isn’t that it needs major changes, or even that it needs minor changes. It’s that   we shouldn’t try and control costs at all.

That's what Gallup concludes, too. That's not what I see. It's interesting that the largest bloc of voters who want no changes to Medicare are Republicans -- but they're only 33 percent of Republicans. Sixty-two percent of Republicans want some changes, and the percentage who want "complete" or "major" changes is slightly larger than the percentage who want to stand pat.

This isn't a debate Republicans are losing. This is a debate they used to lose, and they're in a much stronger position to win now if they keep the focus on the apocalyptic debt. When I've talked to conservative voters, the ones who've been open to Medicare reform or cuts put it in those terms -- shared sacrifice is the only way to save their grandchildren from living in a Philip K. Dick novel. Could Democrats win this, as they won on Social Security, and convince them that Ryan's specific plan to privatize Medicare is way, way, way more than they want? Sure. They're not there yet.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.