Barack Obama to Take on Paul Ryan on Health Costs

President Barack Obama is promising to lay out his long-awaited ideas on how to restrain Medicare and Medicaid spending this week – just in time to take the spotlight away from Paul Ryan. But he’ll have to do it in a way that doesn’t provoke a Democratic revolt or give the Republicans an easy target. And right now, there aren’t a lot of Democratic ideas on either Medicare or Medicaid that Obama can just pull off the shelf, dust off and use.  The most likely route Obama would take, based on the way he and other administration officials have been talking about health care, is to borrow ideas from the bipartisan deficit reduction plan by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. Obama and his allies like to talk about the root causes of rising costs, and there are ideas from the Simpson-Bowles commission, on which Ryan served, that would make more aggressive reforms to the way the federal government delivers and pays for health care – allowing Obama to criticize Republicans for not dealing with them.


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