From Talking Points Memo:
Grilled about her support for the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) told a home state radio interviewer that the law’s core structure is “exactly” like the House GOP Medicare privatization plan that conservatives support and liberals detest.
“The irony of this situation is that these are private insurance companies people will shop to buy their insurance. It’s not the government,” she told KMOX of St. Louis on Wednesday. “It’s exactly what Paul Ryan wants to do for Medicare.”
“It’s subsidized by the government — premium subsidies — which is exactly, this is the irony,” continued McCaskill, who faces a tough reelection battle this fall. “You think what Paul Ryan wants to do for seniors, you think it’s terrific. But when we want to provide private health insurance for people who don’t have insurance with subsidies from the government, you think it’s terrible.”
McCaskill’s point is an important one that exposes the real nature of the underlying fight over how to fix health care. The progressive ideal is a single payer system, a la Medicare, but for everyone. The conservative ideal is a deregulated market-based system with a diminished federal role. The Affordable Care Act, despite the right’s protestations of socialism, is a middle ground between the two. And the insurance exchanges mirror what the Ryan plan does to Medicare — as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) have conceded.