Rep. Allyson Schwarz, D-Pa., has just been tapped to run candidate and member services for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but it's sort of interesting that she'd take on this leadership role immediately after writing an op-ed in USA Today that implies we can have our cake and eat it too on Medicare.
Schwarz advocated eliminating the rationing board (known as IPAB) that President Obama is counting on to bring down the government's medical costs:
We have a choice: Reduce costs through improved delivery of care or simply leave it to this new board to cut payments. I am opposed to the board because we have the knowledge and the will to achieve cost savings in Medicare the right way.
Yeah, this is slightly awkward for President Obama, because she comes right out and admits what he will not -- that IPAB trades off quality of care for savings, and heralds the end of "Medicare as we know it." But the bigger problem here is that Obama is actually correct, and Schwarz is wrong. To salvage the nation's finances, some kind of trade-off will be necessary. And false promises like the ones Schwarz made in her op-ed are the fundamental premise of the "Mediscare" campaign we can expect to see the DCCC run against Republican incumbents next year.
Changes must be made to Medicare -- whether they immediately affect seniors (as Obama's rationing plan does) or whether they simply change the system for younger workers (as Ryan's plan does). If Democrats can shield the public from reality with soothing words like Schwarz's, then they can run against Medicare reform with impunity.