It’s not that the Wisconsin Republican has Democrats flocking to back his new plan, which is another version of Medicare “premium support,” a model that would convert the program into subsidies to help seniors buy private health insurance plans. So far, Wyden appears to be largely alone, with most other Democrats and liberals blasting the new plan as a threat to Medicare’s guarantees for seniors.
But by winning the support of a prominent and mostly liberal Democrat, Republicans and conservatives say, Ryan made such a breakthrough that the political importance of the deal overshadows the policy trade-offs he had to make.
“If anything, this might enhance his reputation,” said Michael Franc, vice president of government studies at The Heritage Foundation. “Who else is out there who can see the big picture, stick to his principles and still demonstrate forward movement? He got Ron Wyden to say, ‘I’ll walk into that room with you.’”