WYDEN-RYAN: BIPARTISAN OR CONSERVATIVE?

In the midst of seemingly immense partisan bickering, the buzz about the new Medicare proposal by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) should pique the interest of both sides — in fact, the white paper detailing the proposal starts by lamenting that Medicare has been held hostage by “heated partisan rhetoric.”  Case closed, right?  Not so fast.

This new proposal has only been out for a matter of hours, but the reactions provoked are already beginning to show who will politically win and lose with this proposal.  Many on the right are cautiously heralding this as a potential victory for bipartisan compromise — even House

Speaker John Boehner called the Wyden-Ryan proposal “a bipartisan idea that’s worthy of our consideration” and “a step in the right direction.”

Meanwhile, many on the left including the Obama administration see this as far from bipartisan, and in fact a conservative approach to Medicare.  So why is Democrat Wyden signing on to this?  Ezra Klein offers one theory:

The real gen­esis of this proposal, I suspect, is that Wyden just believes this is the right direction for Medicare. Wyden believes in choice and competition. This isn’t a trade. It’s not a compromise policy. It’s just a policy that both Ryan and Wyden support as a next step for Medicare.

While we can read the details of the proposed policy goals, this one is likely going to come down to the politics, not the policy.