Leaders of the tea party-affiliated group FreedomWorks think the FY12 budget plan proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is (almost) perfect.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Friday, FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey and President Matt Kibbe come out in support of Ryan’s budget, approved last month by the House, which includes the most drastic overhaul of Medicare in the program’s history—but they suggest one major caveat.
Citing what they believe to be the blemishes of "HillaryCare, RomneyCare, [and] ObamaCare," Armey and Kibbe contend that “Ryan’s proposal for ‘premium support’—a publicly-funded system of competing private health plans in a tightly regulated government ‘exchange’—would save money. But as a form of ‘managed’ competition it’s not a true market, and thus it can only work when individuals are compelled to participate.
“The obvious and simple remedy for the flaws of managed competition is to let individuals opt out,” Armey and Kibbe write. “This reform would make Medicare better—and the Ryan plan more politically defensible.”
The duo concludes with a warning that could strike fear among Republican presidential hopefuls vying for an endorsement from the group’s PAC, which spent more than half a million dollars on the 2010 midterm elections.
“Any serious GOP presidential candidate must be absolutely clear on this issue,” they write. “Kicking the can down the road is no longer an option. A candidate who is timid on entitlement reforms is not qualified to be president.”
Want the news first every morning? Sign up for National Journal’s Need-to-Know Memo. Short items to prepare you for the day.