The selection of Paul Ryan insures that entitlements will take a center stage position in the debate over the next 90 days. The challenge will be to connect entitlements to the overall economic conditions and the Obama administrations lack of leadership on the issue. On Sunday, Mr. Axelrod and Ms. Wasserman-Schultz, talking points well absorbed, doubled down on the criticism of the Ryan plan. The sheer repetition and lack of individuality created the jeopardy of ‘exploding head syndrome’.
But wait; despite the longevity of the Democratic arguments and despite the constant repetition Democrats have a problem.
The problem is in the numbers. Gallup, in April, polled seniors on their preference related to the Ryan plan versus the President’s approach. Those in the 65+ age group favored the Ryan plan 48% to 42% with 10% undecided. The 50 – 64 age group favored the Ryan plan 47% to 41% with 12% undecided. These numbers predate the heated debate we will see over the next 90 days. Considering the Blitzkrieg of criticism centered on the Ryan plan what explains these numbers.
Sometimes the easiest answer is likely correct. Seniors still view their relationships with their doctors with almost God like respect. Seniors have likely ignored politicians and asked their doctors what the impact of ObamaCare will be. Those questions and their answers will have personalized the view of what the ObamaCare cuts have on Medicare and senior health care.
Seniors likely heard doctors tell them that they would be severely limited regarding the number of Medicare patients they could afford to accept. They may have heard doctors ruminate on getting out of medicine. They may have heard about the uncertainty related to the annual requirement for the ‘Doc Fix’ and what happens when and if it’s not fixed on a permanent basis. They may have been told that there is a $38 trillion unfunded liability in addition to the $16 trillion in publicized debt, that no one, other than Paul Ryan, has attempted to address in a serious fashion. It may have been as simple as a disgusted shake of the doctor’s head.
The explanation for what will, no doubt, be constant attacks directed at Rep. Ryan is in the numbers, a majority of seniors don’t trust what they’ve been handed. They asked their doctors!