* Prevent the government shutdown
* Set the bar for "seriousness"when it comes to budget discussions
* Become the republican nominee's budget platform
* Heal the lepers
"... will put all future arguments in the proper context: The current welfare state is simply unsustainable and anybody who is serious, on left or right, has to have a new vision of the social contract."Well, well. Fine. Let's look at the top line item of the new vision: phasing out
"... a defined contribution plan. Instead of assuming open-ended future costs, the government will give you a sum of money (starting at an amount equal to what the government now spends) and a regulated menu of insurance options from which to choose."Well. Fine. Except that, as Matt Yglesias points out with a handy chart, [Medicaid*] expenditures don't match up with enrollees. Unless that regulated menu of insurance options includes high-risk pools and mandates enrollment to cover payouts to the elderly and the disabled, it won't work even in the short term.
In the long term, of course, we've got this flat payout replacing our open-ended commitment. Since everybody from Nancy Pelosi to Paul Ryan assumes continuously rising health-care costs, how is this anything other than essentially cutting off access to
Stay classy, Republicans!