As if his earlier proposal to reform Medicare didn't give Republicans a bad case of heartburn, a new health reform scheme from Rep. Paul Ryan to rewrite workplace health insurance and provide universal health coverage through tax credits is starting to give the GOP fits.
Earlier this week, Ryan proposed a new system that would push employees to buy their own health insurance. Under his plan, employers would no longer get tax write-offs to provide insurance, and instead workers would get refundable credits to buy health insurance on their own. [See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]
It would be a huge step toward giving workers greater choice, but is a move that is sure to scare employees who've already faced pay and benefit cuts from companies.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wasted no time in attacking the plan, hoping it would refire their waning assault on Ryan's earlier Medicare reform package. Some 50 vulnerable Republicans were targeted by the DCCC's press operation through a release that said, in part, "Ryan acknowledged his new plan doubles down on his earlier controversial budget proposal to end Medicare."
Today, they claimed one victory: New York Republican Rep. Chris Gibson. His local paper, the Glens Falls Post Star, quoted his spokesman saying that the lawmaker wouldn't endorse the new Ryan plan until he saw more details. "Until he (Ryan) comes out with legislation or a formal proposal, we're not going to be taking a position on it," said the spokesman.
The DCCC is pressing local media to ask their lawmakers about the amended Ryan plan in hopes of raising new concerns about the GOP's plans on healthcare. Republicans felt that they succeeded in fending off Democratic attacks on the earlier Ryan Medicare reform plan and predict that they will again against the latest criticism.