Conservatives Still Need To Sell The Public On The Ryan Plan

Yes it’s a poll of adults and, yes, it may be a little slanted, but these numbers for the Ryan plan are comparable to the numbers Obamacare draws from the public.

The poll indicates that 58 percent of the public opposes the Republican plan on Medicare, with 35 percent saying they support the proposal. The survey’s Wednesday release comes as the president met with House Republicans to discuss, among other things, Medicare reform.

The House Republican 2012 budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, passed the chamber in April without a single Democratic vote and included a proposal to overhaul Medicare. Under the plan, the government would no longer directly pay medical costs for those 55 and younger, but instead would offer subsidies for seniors to use to get private health insurance coverage.

“Half of those we questioned say that the country would be worse off under the GOP Medicare proposals and 56 percent think that GOP plan would be bad for the elderly,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Opposition is highest among senior citizens, at 74 percent, suggesting that seniors are most worried about changes to Medicare even if those changes are presented as ones that would not affect existing Medicare recipients.”

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“A majority of all demographic groups don’t favor the GOP Medicare proposals,” Holland adds. “That includes conservatives – 54 percent of them don’t like the plan. As a result, rank-and-file Republicans are split right down the middle, with 48 percent favoring the GOP plan and 50 percent opposed.”

How damaging is the Ryan plan to the GOP? It’s hard to say, but it’s fair to say that it’s probably going to be unpopular anywhere other than conservative strongholds.

That leaves Republicans with one of three options.

1) Keep selling the plan to the public and improve the numbers. The GOP is TRYING to do that. However, if that fails, the GOP will be left with just two other options.

2) Push an unpopular plan that the American people don’t want. That will cost the GOP a lot of seats in 2012 and they’ll probably be scared to tackle the issue again for years, which would be disastrous for the country.

3) Say the plan is a “good start,” but support something else that isn’t as politically unpopular.

Just yelling “stiffen your spines” is counter-productive because nothing the GOP can do can get the Ryan plan passed before 2012 and if the GOP takes a bath because of it, they may not have the courage to tackle the issue again until Medicare is ready to collapse. By that time, our options will be very limited.

That’s why the key thing we’ve got to do right now is explain the truth to the American people. Doing nothing means the end of Medicare as we know it, a disruption of Medicare payments for seniors who are already on the program, and bankruptcy for the United States. In other words, if you’re 65, the Ryan plan will ensure that Medicare will still be there for you when you need it. If we do nothing, you’re rolling the dice and some time in the next several years, you’re going to need Medicare and as unthinkable as it seems today, we’re going to come up snake eyes and the money won’t be there to pay your bills. It could be a year, two years, five years, ten years, fifteen years — but, unless we do something, it’s going to happen, and it’s going to be disastrous for the people who rely on the program. Nobody wants to tinker with Medicare just to tinker with it; tinkering with it is a NECESSITY to preserve the program. But, we can’t do it without the support of the American people. If they say no, they will get their wish, and the consequences will be absolutely cataclysmic.

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