Paul Ryan's Obamacare Run-Around

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 11 2013 9:46 AM

Paul Ryan's Obamacare Run-Around

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

Rep. Paul Ryan appeared on Fox News Sunday to preview his budget and made something that sounds, to the untrained ear, like news.

REP. RYAN: These are increases that have not come yet. So, by repealing "Obamacare", and the Medicaid expansions which haven't occurred yet, we are basically preventing an explosion of a program that is already failing. So, we're saying don't grow this program through "Obamacare" because it doesn't work...
MR. WALLACE: I'm going to pick up on this because I must say I didn't understand it. Are you saying that as part of your budget, you would repeal, you assume the repeal of "Obamacare"?
REP. RYAN: Yes.
MR. WALLACE: Well, that's not going to happen.
REP. RYAN: Well, we believe it should. That's the point. That's what's -- but this is what budgeting is all about, Chris. It's about making tough choices to fix our country's problems.
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Ryan's use of the phrase "tough choice" is amusing, for a reason I can explain later. But first: This ain't news. Every Ryan budget has assumed 1) the repeal of Obamacare and 2) the Medicare savings achieved in Obamacare, the very ones Ryan spent much of 2012 campaigning against. (He reminds Chris Wallace in this interview that "we won the senior vote.") Ryan assumes that the structure of Obamacare can be torn down like some statue in Lenin Square, but nearly $1 trillion of Medicare savings will be achieved by voucherization.

Not news, but important for it to be covered like news. Democrats must be re-offended; op-ed pages must be re-fascinated. That's because the continuing resolution passed in the House, which funds the government through September, funds "Obamacare." Conservative activists noticed that, and have attacked Republicans for selling out the base. "Conservatives had every reason to think this fight would be waged," writes Brent Bozell in a Politico op-ed today. "In early 2011, both Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor pledged to defund the law using the appropriations process."

They sure did, and that's why Ryan is here to assure conservatives that Obamacare repeal is alive and thriving. That's why the "tough choice" framework is chuckle-ready. Asking Republicans to support "Obamacare repeal" is easier than getting offended at a GoDaddy ad.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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