“Republicans will end Medicare” was the subject line, bluntly laying out the Democrats’ line of attack against the Republicans’ deficit-reduction plan.
Ryan’s idea is for seniors to begin receiving a set amount of money, starting in 2022, that they can spend on private insurance plans, a proposal that the Congressional Budget Office said could force seniors to pay more out-of-pocket. Ryan has defended it as a way to inject free market principles into a system that’s becoming progressively more expensive as medical costs rise, and Republicans have made a point of saying the changes won’t affect anyone who is currently 55 or older.
“We’ve seen this movie before, back when it was called Privatize Social Security,” Schumer wrote. “We stood together when George W. Bush made that proposal, and we defeated it.” (Other Democrats have opted for “Privatizing Ryan” jokes.)
Ryan’s plan has been something of a gift for Schumer and the Democrats, who have struggled with their messaging since Republicans won back control of the House in November. Schumer was appointed the message guru for the Democratic caucus, but has been forced to mostly play defense, as Republican cuts dominated the narrative and helped the G.O.P. extract deep budget cuts for the current fiscal year.
Now, Democrats are hoping they’ve found their angle, as they brace for fights over the debt ceiling and next year’s budget.
Here’s the full letter, co-signed by Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray, and sent out from Boxer’s PAC: