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Obama’s Medicare Blunder

Written on Thursday, September 15, 2011 by

The Government plans to lift the Medicare levy surcharge threshold.

Early this year, Wisconsin Congressman and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan dug a huge hole for the Republican Party by proposing dramatic changes in the Medicare system. True the changes would extend the life of the program. True they would not affect current retirees. True they won’t take effect for 10 years. But, no matter, President Obama seized on the Ryan plan as a key element of his 2012 campaign.

Then the House leadership compounded the problem by passing the Ryan plan with all but four House Republicans in support. All the rest just followed Ryan off the cliff, putting themselves on record in favor of a plan Americans overwhelmingly opposed. Democrats, reeling from the 2010 defeats, were jubilant. The Republicans had just, in their view, given away the 2012 election.

Well, in Obama’s jobs speech, he gave it right back to the Republicans by embracing his own version of Medicare cuts.

As I heard Obama blundering, my mind went back to a conversation I had with George Stephanopoulos in 1995 when he was opposing my suggestion that President Clinton lay out his own plan to balance the federal budget. Stephanopoulos was concerned that if we proposed our own budget cuts, we would lose the ability to attack those being pushed by Newt Gingrich and the Republicans.

I countered that as long as we did not propose to cut Medicare, we would be OK and could still use the Medicare issue against the GOP. We did so with great success.

Now Obama has run afoul of what would have been Stephanopoulos’ advice and has nullified the advantage Ryan’s mistake afforded him. More than any other, this false step on the president’s part was the most important political outcome of his jobs speech.

How the Republicans respond should hinge on the details of Obama’s Medicare cuts. If the president wants to raise premiums, increase deductibles or means test benefits, the GOP should agree. Obama will face plenty of flack in his own party, and he probably could only pass such a program in the Senate with Republican votes, but that’s his problem.

If there is a bipartisan deal over these kinds of Medicare cuts, the Republicans will be off the hook over Ryan’s plan. Congress will have acted and the issue will be off the table in the 2012 election.

But, if Obama outlines cuts along the lines of his Obamacare program, he will be raising again the rationing issue. Talk of death panels will resurface. In that case, Republicans must not let themselves be maneuvered into backing Obama’s program. To do so, would be to break faith with their 2010 majority.

If Obama wants to control health care delivery and prescribe what doctors can and cannot do, Republicans must take him on over the issue. That will set the stage for a rerun of the 2010 election and we all know how that came out.

In that case, the GOP will still come out ahead because the Medicare issue du jour won’t be the Ryan plan anymore, but the Obama Medicare cuts, and the Republicans will again be on the right side of the fight.

For the most part, Obama’s spending and tax cut proposals will be subsumed into the overall question of deficit reduction. Republicans should take the position that they won’t spend the money until the cuts to offset them have been identified. And, with a few exceptions — such as corporate loopholes — Republicans should say that they would gladly pass Obama’s program once the offsetting spending reductions have been crafted and passed.

Obama can well handle a “no” and use it to campaign on. But if Republicans say “yes” instead, he’ll have nothing to run on.

To find out more about Dick Morris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at

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  • Adrian Vance

    Mr. Obama is too ignorant to realize that the country is not only out of money, but will soon run out of borrowing power. Then he will repeat the mistakes of the Weimer Republic in 1923 Germany, but we are ready to pick up the pieces and put America back together hopefully to never again make these mistakes.

    The Two Minute Conservative at has political analysis, science and humor. Daily on Kindle.

    • The Sarge

      Adrian – remember that the situation in Germany as the Weimar Republic fell… brought the world Adolph Hitler… we will have to guard very carefully against that here.

      The difference between us and Germany is the fierce independence bred into much of America. Germany was used to living under the rule of strongmen, Kaiser Wilhelm, Otto von Bismarck, so having a dictator (king) was going back to what many there knew before the experiment with freedom.

      IF we can get back to teaching about the Constitution and the Framers… we can experience a re-birth of Liberty… but we might have to do it over the bodies of the Marxist/Progressives/Unions that will surely oppose it – with violence no doubt…!!

    • http://N/A Ricardo 36


  • The Enemy

    Donald Trump is not as irrelevant as some folks say he is. Early-on he said that the GOP’s Medicare plan was being put-out too early and that the Democraps would use it as a political hammer against the GOP. He was right. He is right about a lot of things, including demanding payment in oil from Iraq for their liberation.

    • Tom Stewart

      Right-On The Enemy Have You Noticed The Two People That The Imposter Muslim Pres Obama Fears The Most, Yikeess, Donald Trump And Sarah Palin, Lets Get Motor-Mouth Obama And His Dunce Biden In A Debate With Trump And Palin The Tea Party Police. God Bless America And The Tea Party Patriots.

    • Chuck

      You are correct Tom, Trump and Palin scare the stuffing out of our Muslim dictator. With the exception of Perry and Romney, the republican candidates are dead in the water. I fully understand Palin’s reluctance to run, but the weakness shown by the declared candidates makes it ever so tempting for her. Personally, I think she would do a great job. Trump, because of his experience and grasp of global economics, is the guy we need, but it will take a miracle to convince him to run.

    • Mary Gee

      You are so right….we need to be compensated for the defense we have contributed….
      We as Americans always give/share with the world and we get nothing in return.
      We are no longer #1 in the world, since our downgrade and the world knows it so we not should demand compensation.



    • dodi

      stevey ~ do you mean someone who cares about the American people? Someone who will try to improve our country instead of flusing us down the toilet? Someone who will work with all of Congress to accomplish good instead of the evil inside obummer? Someone who won’t lie to get his way or cry like a baby when he doesn’t get exactly what he wants? Someone who doesn’t blame others (Bush) for his mistakes? Mostly someone who loves this country and will listen to the American people? I’m with you, I wish we had a real president too. I hope that will happen in 2012 but, you and I must work to make it happen.

    • Elwood

      dodi, you are right on! I am fearful that if the conservative, sensible people don’t turn out to the polls in November 2012 and VOTE right, it will be all over for this great country as we have known it.

      So, I would encourage each one of us to talk to people, use our e-mail, get on the phone, write letters, whatever, to try to get our friends, relatives and acquaintances to the polls and VOTE. Each one of us is only one vote but even that one vote won’t count unless we cast it.

      Remember Obummer’s base is huge and I believe they will make the effort to get to the polls in droves, so unless we do so in larger numbers than they do we are sunk. It is that simple. What a tragedy if we don’t do it.

    • dodi

      And Elwood ~ let’s not forget to write call or email our Representatives and Senators each and every time the don’t listen to the American people. Lets not forget to also write them and thank them when they do listen to us. Call, write letters or email them either way. We need to fight people IF you are interested in saving America. I love Patriot’s bumper sticker and am getting some –

      0 – ONE
      B – BIG
      A – ASS
      M – MISTAKE
      A – AMERICA

      Let’s not let it happen again!

      Memory is short but I think that is correct. Thank You Patriot Update for producing them. Can’t wait until they come!

    • Elwood

      Yes, I agree wholeheartedly, let’s stay in touch with our Congressmen and let them know we are watching them. We didn’t just send them to D.C. to acquire a cushy job with all the perks. We want them to work for us, not against us!

    • http://windowslive mary m

      me too, Stevey

    • Mary Gee

      2012 vote republican

    • Bj

      A real President would indeed be nice as well as somebody who: loved this Country, one who appreciated where he came from, knew what the American People wanted, stood by and up for the American People, didn’t make the American People look like a bunch of fools, if married his wife had similar values, they both were God fearing and loving people, and the list goes on. Sounds too good to be true in a lot of ways but we can make it happen in 2012 by not letting the likes of the current bozo take control.

  • Victor Barney

    Again, man’s 6,000 year reign is over and next comes the two-witnesses of Chapter 11, Revelation to severely punish u.s. for 3 1/2 years, called “Jacob’s trouble” in Scriptures! I hope that you all know that Marxism(Anti-Christ by definition) is the only sin that cannot be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come, so DON’T GO THERE! Watch!

  • rowley

    Cut all regulations and restrictions on Private Medical Insurance and abolish all Govt. control of our bodies and lives.

    • Chuck

      California dreaming. You are talking about 20% of our entire economy!

  • tweety

    Still another nail in Obama’s coffin.

  • m. sharpe

    The “New Deal System” now include the elderly that are dependant on the beast for survival;as a result the elderly will vote for anyone that will keep these programs alive. That is exactly what FDR had in mine. Lure people and their children in by conditioning them on where the hand outs are located.

    • armyvet

      m.sharpe, you must remember, medicare and SS are in most cases not ‘hand outs’. I’ve paid into it over 54 years, not by choice but mandatory. As now when I’m old, we are told we are beggars expecting to get something for nothing? I beg your pardon!

      Give me back everything I’ve paid in with interest and I will gladly take care of myself. FDR and the Demo’s scheme was control of peoples lives and higher taxes, more money to spend without protest from the masses, because we were promised a return!

    • Jane

      armyvet – we are all guilty of not holding our federal government representatives in Washington accountable for spenting social security and medicare money as it came in. We can only spend our money once. Wake up – your money was taken and is gone.

    • old Navy

      Army vet, Ive been harassing my Congressman about that for years, just let me have what Ive paid in, without interest. Ill invest it myself. It was my dough in the first place. If you guys can’t handle it, I will.

    • Mary Gee

      I agree: I paid into FICA for 35 years since I worked as a Reg. Nurse and now into Medicare I pay $130 per month for services….I was promised a decent income on retiring and I get minimum benefits and pay for my own health care.
      Please return my investment for the last 35 years with interest (compounded daily) and I know how to take care of myself…I am so upset that my FICA has been distributed to those newcomers that have NOT contributed.

    • http://PatriotUpdate jenny

      Mary Gee, Another person who understands! Thank you for your comments! We paid into those programs for 50 yrs. There was no alternative. Now, everyone calls it “an entitlement”. Well, if they insist, yes it is an entitlement. We are entitled to OUR money!! We set aside what we thought was a good nest-egg to use along with that “entitlement”. But thanks to the government, we lost $250,000 of that. Is it an entitlement to get that hard-earned money back as well? It was ours….now I’m not sure to whom it belongs, but it sure isn’t us!

    • The Sarge

      Trooper – SS was designed when the life expectancy in this country was 64 – now it’s 84 and you will draw MUCH more from SS than you have ever paid in…

      As far as getting out of SS what you paid in… I believe that is a very reasonable to take and I would hope that someone in Congress would do the work to determine if that is actually feasible…

      Paul Ryan perhaps…??? Perhaps an “opt out” for everyone that wants to leave the SS system… and go to a Galveston, TX type system for all current government employees that will include a retirement plan and eliminate the taxpayers from having to cover their SS when they retire as the trade off…???

    • Fedup

      Lots of people don’t make it to 84. Lots don’t make it to 64. The Gov’t ha taken the tax payers dollars and squandered it. Paid companies to move jobs out of the country. Paid for frivous projects like shrimp on treadmills. Gave away the money to other countries with no return like the middle east recently, even money to build their mosqus. Money to wallstreet so the big honchos could get their billons in bonuses. Now try to get the Gov’t to give the money to the US citizens and all of a sudden the checks may not go out cause there is no money in the coffers. I’m just plain Fed Up!

    • rafael

      The RETARDED IMBECILES in Congress they Take Funds out of S.S. for PET PROJECTS like giving drugs to monkeys or testing smell out of pork manure and they leave an I.O.U.and this I.O.U. never gets paid back.We should arrest all these
      S.O.B , put them in jail and take everything away from them, houses, mansions, bank accounts.

  • AliveStillKickin

    “All the rest just followed Ryan off the cliff, putting themselves on record in favor of a plan Americans overwhelmingly opposed.”

    The told the public that Ryan was out to destroy Medicare and Social Security.

    • Patriot and an American

      Do you think Ryan is an imposter … working for the Democrats disguised as a Republican. He doesn’t sound too smart, but they certainly are evil and use every bit a trickery they can scramble together anywhere, everything, any time, no matter who gets hurt. That’s their policy and there are those that think this is the way to run this country. A lot of those supporters need to sharpen up because this is just the beginning of the doom and gloom that this administration is working to transform us into poverty.

  • haditinsd

    This just illusrates how low we have sunk in health care when the two parties are fighting over who can provide the best or worst health care instead of it being left to our doctors. HMO’s were bad enough but if you really want something screwed up get government involved.

  • Janice

    Oh the games the politicians play with our lives – “do this to hurt the opponent; don’t do or say this so they can’t use it against us.”
    Why can’t they make decisions based on what will really help the country instead of how it will hurt them politically or help the other party?
    Paul Ryan is the only one that proposed an honest plan to help the economy, knowing that it may not be popular. He is the bravest politician out there and got pummeled by the left!! We need more like him – HONEST and UNAFRAID!!

  • am2sweet

    I think this article from says how much more is going on with healthcare than we know about.

    “Twenty-one illegal immigrants will continue to receive regular dialysis at no cost for three years under an agreement disclosed Friday by Atlanta’s public hospital, Grady Memorial, and the world’s largest dialysis provider, Fresenius Medical Care.

    The deal solves an impasse created when a previous one-year contract between Grady and Fresenius expired on Aug. 31 and the dialysis provider refused to serve patients who showed up for their regular thrice-a-week treatments.

    The patients spent the past week seeking care in Atlanta-area emergency rooms, including Grady’s, which are required by federal law to screen and treat those at risk of impairment or death.

    In some instances, ailing patients were turned away by emergency room doctors who determined that their elevated potassium levels and fluid retention were not yet severe enough to justify emergency treatment. Each renal patient’s need for dialysis is different, but those unable to artificially clean the toxic substances from their blood can die in as little as two weeks.”

  • armyvet

    So is his nephew in the WH. What would you expect? One illegal will support an illegal relative!

  • http://Partriot Ray Hull

    It’s a sad thing that we have to hide the truth and IAW Morris that being intellectually honest with the American People leads to defeat. The truth hurts? If we can’t say it like it is, then we are doomed in the long run. Sorry state of affairs.

  • Jim W

    NOTHING will change until the mainstream media starts reporting ALL of the truth …NOTHING!!

  • deep south

    TO ALL…Please comment…….

    I am 47 years old and have been paying into SS since I was 13yrs old. I am ready to cut my losses. I say pay the retired folks until they die and leave the rest of us alone. Just cut medicare completely. I could do far better with MY money that congress has wasted all these years. In short, I am all for Ryan’s plan and agree with Perry. As far as I am concerned, those people who want to keep SS are either looking for a hand-out at any expense or don;t really understand how badly the fund has been mishandled…there IS NO FUND. Try and find and account with SS money in it…..

    I would like to know how many other folks feel the same way or some version there of… (thanks)

  • Sgt. KEN USAF

    To tell the truth I worry a lot about the GOP also. If we get someone that wants to get along to get along. We are in trouble.

  • D. Hanes

    I’m with the fellow who said,, I Wish We Had A REal President” not some American hating Muslim fake. i cannot wait for us to get our country back.

    • http://ThePatriot Perfectlyaged

      D.Hanes…I wish we had a real President too and I would like to add a couple things to what you said.
      I wish we had a President who has/had high morals…not one who was a frequent vistor to the “Down Low Club” in Chicago…I wish we had a President who always salutes the flag, not stand as I have seen Obama do twice with his arms hanging down and his hands crossed doing a “crotch salute”…I wish we had a President who had shown dignity and respect for the flag folding ceremony at one of the 9/11 events instead of standing by the side of Michelle and Michelle leaning over to Obama and saying (according to a person who can’t hear but who is a lip reader) “all of this for a damn flag”. And Obama looked at her with a closed mouthed smile and sorta nodded his head. The look on Michelle’s face was that of complete disdain!
      I wish we, the Americans, had a President and his wife who we could respect and be proud of!!!!!! And who the other nations of the world would respect!!!!!

    • rafael

      SHE has 43 secretaries working for her…..doing what ??????? Wasting time and WASTE of taxpayers money.

  • Patriot and an American

    Sounds like Ryan is working for the Democrats posing as a Republican. What a scum bag. He will find his due … whatever he may reap will not be good in his future.

  • Sherm

    I am afraid Morris is right! It is a very convoluted argument and a lot of things could change very quickly. But I’ll admit IF everything went just like Dick Morris has it figured! But, so frequently things change…just one person being getting dead just by accident could change the scenario, making the results something else altogether!

  • dago dave

    Oh I agree in voting republican,just as soon as they find one worth voting for!So far what they have put out front as leading canidates is in fact-Whore mongoring trash.All the same old hog wash.I WANT AN ALL OUT COUNTRY,PEOPLE ,CONSTITUTIONAL,GOD FEARING,LOVING AMERICAN.And I don’t give arats ass what color he OR SHE-is.PUT THIS COUNTRY BACK IN THE HUMAN RACE.

    • Chuck

      DD, you don’t sound like much of a patriot, if you are saying you will only vote for the republican candidate isf you like who it is. That means you could be satisfied with Obama for God knows how long.

    • rafael


  • Teriqua Jones

    I would love to see the American people stand up to Obama. We have to do something to save our nation. In the past few days I’ve heard Obama plans to eliminate local television stations and to put controls on the internet.
    This means we will only have access to National news. Certainly that news will be cherry picked by big brother.
    We need to stop him!