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Paul Ryan's Moment

The Wisconsin Congressman bests his critics.

10:26 AM, Mar 4, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Drastic cuts to current Medicare beneficiaries will face fierce resistance. In a December 20, 2009, letter, CBO wrote that "It is unclear whether such a reduction in the growth rate could be achieved, and if so, whether it would be accomplished through greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care or would reduce access to care or diminish the quality of care." The actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services do not mince words when they say Obamacare will bend the cost curve upward and reduce access and quality of care.

Klein's second point is that the double-counting in the health care bill -- which counts a Medicare dollar as both reducing the program's deficit and paying for new spending -- is standard operating procedure. True enough. But Ramesh Ponnuru points out that:

Similar accounting procedures were used for the Iraq War and the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, both of which Ryan supported. That’s fine as far as it goes, but there’s a difference that seems to me big, which is that Obamacare is supposedly being paid for in large part by Medicare cuts. Nobody ever claimed that Medicare cuts were going to pay for the Iraq War.

The bottom line? Despite the liberal pushback, Ryan's arguments remain compelling. (The Journal has more on them here.) Which shouldn't come as a surprise. When a politician finds his moment, everything breaks his way.

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