THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Perspective, indeed, in federal budget battle

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, has stirred debate with his Medicare reform proposal. House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, has stirred debate with his Medicare reform proposal. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
June 2, 2011

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SCOT LEHIGH makes a good case that the Medicare-wrecking Republican budget authored by Representative Paul Ryan brings clarity to the choices in front of voters (“Thanks to Ryan, some focus,’’ Op-ed, May 27). But I must comment on several critical details.

First, why be so delicate about the actual nature of this plan? It “would eventually shift Medicare from direct government payment for services’’? Ryan’s budget replaces Medicare with insufficient vouchers for anyone who today is 55 or younger, and leaves them to the tender mercies of the individual health insurance market.

Next, Senator Scott Brown did not “break with party orthodoxy.’’ He stated his opposition to the plan only after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell granted dispensation to GOP senators to vote as they wish. Brown spent the preceding days groping in search of a position. In the past, on votes where the GOP Senate leadership has called for unity, Brown has voted with them, against the interests of Massachusetts constituents. He may have voted with the sane majority on this bill, but it’s crucial not to see his vote as any kind of political courage.

Finally, the Ryan budget does not present a choice between preserving Medicare and “preserving the current level of taxation.’’ The Ryan plan slashes Medicare (and Medicaid) in order to pay for a new round of massive tax cuts for the rich.

The real choice is between finding ways to keep our promises to preserve vital programs, and a fraud that doesn’t even reduce the deficit.

Russ Leach
Lynnfield