House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan unveiled his new 2012 budget proposal today.
This, of course, is an updated version of last year’s controversial budget, which sought to reform entitlements. But there are some differences…
As the Examiner’s Philip Klein writes,
Last year, Ryan called for transitioning to a ‘premium support’ Medicare system in which seniors use government subsidies toward the purchase of privately administered health insurance plans. This year, he keeps that general structure, but preserves the traditional Medicare plan as an option…
This is interesting. As you might recall, former Speaker Newt Gingrich was widely criticized by conservatives last year, for referring to Paul’s plan as “right wing social engineering” during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
While I have long contended that Gingrich’s comments were unartful, I have also argued he was not entirely wrong.
It’s important to read the transcript. After uttering the unfortunate “right wing social engineering” line (which, by the way, was probably borrowed from Ryan’s hero Jack Kemp), Gingrich then went on to explain his point a bit more thoroughly, saying:
I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the–I don’t want to–I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.
Today, it seems that Paul Ryan agrees with Gingrich, as evidenced by the new Medicare option.
Others, of course, have made this point before — for example, when Ryan teamed with Democrat Senator Ron Wyden to offer a bipartisan budget.
But the fact that it has now made it into the Republican budget, I think, acknowledges that, politically, at least, Gingrich had a point all along.