In an interesting piece in Politicotoday, Alex Isenstadt argues that GOP plans to reform Medicare could open the door to the Democrats retaking the House in 2012 (something no one would have predicted following the results of the 2010 midterms).
According to Isenstadt, the Democrats are in possession of a “silver bullet.”
the GOP’s Medicare proposal, an issue the New York race suggested rivals cap-and-trade or President Barack Obama’s health care plan for its ability to antagonize voters. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll in late May revealed that nearly 6 out of 10 voters opposed the plan. The same survey found that the number of those who believe GOP control of the House is good for the country is in decline, dropping from a 52 percent to 39 percent margin in November to 48 percent to 44 percent.
Other commentators, like Michael Tomasky, find all of this a bit premature. Perhaps. But given the lackluster economy and continued engagement in two unpopular wars, is there any question that Medicare will become central to the DNC’s 2012 strategy?
To be certain, one can lay out the long-term fragility of Medicare with relatively great precision. One can make a principled argument that without reform, Medicare—for all of its virtues—will cease to provide the benefits many currently expect. However, one can also provide a critique of reform in ways that will likely strike the elderly with terror. This piece by the Agenda Project is a good example:
If there is a chance that serious discussions about Medicare reform will place one’s reelection in jeopardy, there will be strong disincentives to engaging serious entitlement reform before the results of 2012 are tabulated. The incentive to kick the can down the road may be overwhelming, even if the road appears to be coming to an abrupt end.