Window to Washington

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Blog: Democrats intone dark themes upon Ryan's return

By Rich Daly

Cue the ominous legislation soundtrack.

Congressional Democrats welcomed Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan back to Capitol Hill through a day-long series of attacks on his plan to repeal the healthcare overhaul and add an insurance subsidy option to Medicare.

Like other Democrats, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) took to the Senate floor to blast the Romney-Ryan campaign's healthcare plans that echo many of the provisions included in budgets Ryan authored as chairman of the Budget Committee.

“Consider how they shred healthcare, with $2.9 trillion in healthcare cuts, not just from repealing healthcare reform but also by gutting Medicare and Medicaid,” Rockefeller said. “The Ryan-Romney plan would take the Medicare that more than 50 million seniors rely on and turn it into a privatized voucher program.”

The speeches marked the first time Ryan has returned to Congress since Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney picked the Wisconsin congressman as his running mate. Ryan was returning to vote on a high-profile continuing resolution and defense sequester replacement.

Some of the speeches also featured a Democratic political narrative that was highlighted throughout the recent Democratic National Convention: that the Republican Medicaid cuts would hurt the middle class even worse than their Medicare cuts.

It's a tough sell because even though Medicaid funds nearly half of the long-term care nationally, including nursing home care for many middle-income Americans, many voters still view it as a program for the poor, Democrats acknowledge.

But Thursday also featured a new wrinkle in the Democrat's Medicaid pitch.

They are now targeting long-term-care providers with warnings that their jobs could disappear under a Romney administration.

“The Ryan-Romney plan would mean millions more Americans could not afford basic healthcare and we know what happens next—more people become sick with untreated illnesses and healthcare costs go up for everyone,” Rockefeller said. “Nursing homes and the 1.8 million people who work there would be forced to slash services, turn away seniors, or close their doors.”

How's that for ominous?

You can follow Rich Daly on Twitter @MHRDaly.


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