Marco Rubio throws down the gauntlet on Medicare reform in a powerful video and column in yesterday’s Miami Herald, scolding Democrats for demagoguing Paul Ryan’s reform plan without offering a plan of their own to save the program from bankruptcy. Rubio starts with the personal, telling how Medicare allowed his father to die with dignity and his mother to access health care after a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice, and says the program must be saved — but really saved, and not just kept on life support for another couple of years:

But Medicare is going bankrupt. Anyone who says it is not is simply lying. And anyone who is in favor of doing nothing to deal with this fact is in favor of bankrupting it. Medicare will go broke in as little as nine years. No one likes this news, but it is the undeniable truth. And the sooner we begin to deal with it, the better off we are all going to be.

My goals are simple. First, I will not support any plan that changes Medicare for people like my mother who are currently on the plan. We cannot ask seniors to go out and get a job to pay for their healthcare.

Second, any solution must solve the problem. We need to save Medicare, not simply delay its bankruptcy.

And third, any solution cannot hurt economic growth. At a time of high unemployment, Americans cannot afford to pay more taxes.

Rubio says that he backs the Ryan plan, because (a) it actually solves the problems in Medicare, and (b) no one has offered any alternatives. For those who oppose Ryan’s plan, Rubio says he’s open to other ideas … but where are they?

Where is the House Democrat plan to save Medicare?  Where is the Senate Democrat plan to save Medicare?  Where is President Obama’s plan to save Medicare?

They have no plan to save it, and they do not plan to offer one. They have decided that winning their next election is more important than saving Medicare for my mother and retirees like her.

Indeed.  They have made a political calculation that doing nothing benefits them in the short term, but it leaves Americans twisting in the wind, especially with the budget crises that have to get solved now.  We cannot solve the red-ink catastrophes without addressing its major source, and we cannot plan for future spending without addressing the hundreds of trillions in unfunded liabilities we now have in Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlement programs.  Anyone who says we can is simply not telling the truth, for whatever purposes they have.

Don’t like Ryan’s plan?  Fine.  Let’s see your alternative, and pretending nothing’s wrong is totally unacceptable.  That’s the proper response to people in either party that want to demagogue the Ryan plan.  Rubio delivers it masterfully here.