Push for quick Medicare overhaul worries Senate Republicans

Republican Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Chuck Grassley of Iowa all stopped short of endorsing the idea Tuesday, when asked if they want to turn Medicare into a “premium support” system in 2017.

The proposal is also giving a shell-shocked Democratic Party a rallying cry, uniting them in opposition to a plan they believe is a losing issue for the GOP. Many Senate Democrats quickly came out against Trump’s plan to nominate Price, citing his support for voucherizing Medicare.

“After the 2004 elections, Republicans tried to take the rug out from under our seniors to privatize Social Security. After the 2016 elections, it seems they’re intent on trying the same trick on Medicare,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the incoming Democratic leader. “Just as their efforts failed then, they will fail now.”

Two red-state Democrats facing tough re-election races in 2018, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, have come out against such a Medicare overhaul, signaling that Republicans won’t be able to rely on bipartisan cooperation on the idea.