Senate GOP balks at Medicare privatization, too

By late last week, the House Republicans’ commitment to their own Medicare plan was quickly “unraveling.” GOP House members already voted to end Medicare and replace it with a privatized voucher scheme, but party leaders signaled their intention to drop it as budget talks continued.

But what about the Senate? The Hill is reporting that a “deep rift is opening wider and wider” within the Republican Party over Medicare.

Senate Republicans have decided to avoid jeopardizing their chances of capturing the upper chamber in next year’s elections and will not echo the House GOP’s call for a major overhaul of the popular health entitlement for seniors.

The Senate Republican decision to split from their colleagues in the lower chamber comes after a month during which Democrats, led by President Obama, have excoriated House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) spending blueprint. […]

The Medicare split is the first indication of major differences on the budget between Republicans in the House and Senate during the 112th Congress.

This isn’t about the Democratic intention to force a vote on the House budget agenda, though that’s certain to put a lot of Republicans in an awkward position. Rather, this is apparently part of a Senate GOP plan to present a budget proposal of its own.

Intra-party hopes that Senate Republicans would follow the trail already blazed by House Republicans will be dashed. The Senate GOP won’t end Medicare, and by bypassing the House agenda, will serve as something of a rebuke to the lower chamber’s majority.

The party will be paying for this overreach for quite a while. Boehner & Co. really should have thought this through.

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