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Strickland Saying He Wouldn't Oppose Turning Medicare into a Voucher Program

Strickland Saying He Wouldn't Oppose Turning Medicare into a Voucher Program

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Published by: a4140a on Sep 26, 2012
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a VenturaCountyStar.com blog
95 percent accurate
BlogsIngeMusingsPreps PlusCollege SportsvcstyleSports ScrapbookMore...Brian Dennert here95% accurate*
ByTimm Herdton August 15, 2012 12:24 PMShare:
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ByTimm Herdton August 14, 2012 9:15 AMShare:
If you don't trust government, what's the alternative?
Jerry Brown
, never one to shy from a philosophical argument, publicly engagedin one this morning with Associated Press reporter 
Juliet Williams
. It came as Brownwas fielding questions following an event at a Sacramento high school promotingProposition 30, the tax initiative on the November ballot that Brown is sponsoring.Williams wanted to know whether the revelation that the state Parks Department had$54 million in hidden funds at a time when state parks were scheduled to be shutteredmight feed voters' distrust in government and make them more likely to vote againstthe initiative.Brown was obviously eager for the question. He asked Williams (rhetorically, it seemed)what was the alternative if Californians decided against taxes because they didn't trustgovernment to handle everything without error."If government can't be trusted, what do we do?" Brown asked. "Do we close theschools, shut down the Highway Patrol, open the prisons?"The real choice, he said, is either government or anarchy. He acknowledged that he,the Legislature, and those who work in government have foibles and humanimperfections."If someone has some virtuous group of saints who can come in here, hallelujah," hesaid.He asked whether, perhaps, "all the money should go into some fund operated byangels. You're representing an idea that we should somehow escape fromrepresentative government."
Strickland on Ryan budget: 'I would have voted no'
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95 percent accurate
Over the last 23 presidential elections,Ventura County voters have backed thewinner 22 times, or over 95 percent of the time. Itis one of only a handful of counties in the nationthat has been such a predictable bellwether.
about Timm Herdt
The Ventura County Star'sSacramento Bureau Chief TimmHerdt on state issues and politicsfrom Sacramento to Ventura County.He can be contacted attherdt@vcstar.com
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ByTimm Herdton August 13, 2012 1:38 PMShare:
 After my blog post yesterday (below or here), Sen.
Tony Strickland
called to fullydiscuss his position on the House Republican budget plan drafted by GOP vicepresidential nominee
Paul Ryan
. As I noted in that post, in a pre-primary, April 5 interview, Strickland told me that hegave "a lot credit" to Ryan for attempting to address the longterm solvency of Medicare. He said at the time that he did not believe Medicare rules should bechanged for those approaching retirement, but that changes need to be made for "people my age" -- folks in their 20s, 30s and 40s (Strickland is 42).We did not discuss a specific age where a potential cutoff for any future changes wouldbe. And that, Strickland told me this morning, is where he has a serious disagreementwith the Ryan plan. It envisions making an insurance-voucher system (rather thanautomatic enrollment in the government-run plan) optional for those under 55.Strickland says no changes should be considered for anyone 50 or older."Those folks paid into the system for years and planned their future," he said. "Youcannot take the rug out from underneath them. I personally oppose any effort to takeanything from people 50 and older." Asked if that meant whether, had he been a member of the House of Representativeswhen it twice approved the Ryan budget, he would have voted against the plan,Strickland answered directly: "I would have voted no."That would have put him in a distinct minority among House Republicans. In the April15, 2011, vote on the plan, only 4 of 241 GOP members voted no (two others did notvote).The plan includes many other elements, of course, including lowering taxes on thewealthy, cutting Medicaid spending by about a third and dramatically rolling backfederal spending on nearly every program except for the military, Social Security andMedicare."I haven't gone through the whole Ryan plan," Strickland said when I asked if he hadobjections to any of its provisions other than the Medicare changes kicking in at age55.The Medicare provision is key politically, and Strickland noted that Democrats revealedtheir campaign playbook in the primary when they zeroed in on the Ryan budget'sMedicare provisions in attacks on independent
Linda Parks
. "They're going to hit onthe Medicare issue," he said. "They hit Linda Parks, for goodness sakes. It doesn'thave to be true. I believe that was not an honest debate. It wasn't fair, and it wasn'ttruthful."The AARP is attempting to arrange a "tele-town hall" discussion with Strickland andDemocrat
Juilia Brownley
next month. It is one of only two districts in California inwhich it hopes to auto-dial all its members and give them an opportunity to listen in astheir candidates for the House discuss issues of importance to seniors. If the AARP issuccesful in pulling that off, expect Medicare to be Topic A in the discussion.
The effect of Paul Ryan selection on congressional races
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ByTimm Herdton August 10, 2012 4:09 PMShare:
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Much has been said, written and speculated about on what the political effects on thepresidential race will be of 
Mitt Romney's
selection of Wisconsin Rep.
Paul Ryan
tobe the Republican vice presidential nominee. Because of Ryan's leadership role in theGOP-controlled House of Representatives, however, it is likely that his high-profile roleon the national ticket will have a substantial effect on congressional races this fall aswell. As astory in Politicothis morning put it, "The reality is that Ryan is now everyRepublicans' running mate whether they like it or not."Ryan, of course, is the author of the much-debated "Ryan budget" that HouseRepublicans have twice approved -- a budget plan that most controversially proposesto offer healthcare vouchers to seniors who choose them to pay private insurancepremiums rather than use Medicare insurance (the original version made the voucher provision mandatory).Democrats have made no secret of their intent to use the Ryan budget as a campaignissue, especially against incumbent House Republicans who are on the record votingfor it. Polling shows the Medicare provision is highly unpopular among voters.The importance Democrats attach to the issue was well demonstrated in VenturaCounty's 26th Congressional District primary campaign, when the DemocraticCongressional Campaign Committee sought to tie the Ryan budget around Supervisor 
Linda Parks
, a former Republican who was running as an independent. Although Parks had been publicly critical of the Medicare provisions, the DCCC mailersalleged that Parks would join other Republicans in Congress "to end Medicare as weknow it." In fact, Parks had written on Facebook in response to a query about the Ryanbudget that she was concerned it "would leave vulnerable senior citizens without healthcare."But she stopped short of assailing it with the kind of partisan zeal that Democrats haveattached to it, and called discussion of the Ryan budget "a moot point" because it was"a one-sided proposal" that was "dead in the water."With Parks having been eliminated in the primary, Democrats will now turn their attackson the Ryan budget and seek to use them against GOP candidate
Tony Strickland
.Unlike incumbent Republican House members, Strickland does not have a record of voting for the Ryan budget, but in an interview with me this spring he expressed strongsupport for what the Ryan plan seeks to accomplish."I give a lot of credit to Paul Ryan for coming up with ways to reform Medicare,"Strickland told me. "There's no question that actuarially it's not sound. If we do nothingright now. Medicare and Social Security will be 100 percent of the budget."Democrat
Julia Brownley
lost little time in seeking to tie Ryan and his budget plans toStrickland. Within hours of the announcement of the Ryan pick Saturday morning, thecampaign issued this statement from Brownley: "The Ryan budget puts millionaires andbillionaires ahead of seniors, women and the middle class by turning Medicare into avoucher system, raising the age of eligibility to 67, and making devastating cuts for women's health and education. This would be a disastrous plan for Ventura Countyand the nation, and it's clear that Tony Strickland would be another rubber-stamp votein Congress for the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan agenda."The end result may be that voters in Ventura County this fall will get a chance to hear afull debate about the future of Medicare -- both the question of whether cutting costsand/or raising revenues is a national imperative and whether the cuts proposed byRyan and House Republicans go too far. That will mean that the 26th CD campaign willbe nationalized to a level that it probably wouldn't have been had Romney chosensome other VP nominee.
Gorell takes on Pavley ... indirectly 
Perhaps had Assemblyman
Jeff Gorell
of Camarillo not been on military deploymentin Afghanistan this winter, he might have been persuaded to run for state Senateagainst Sen.
Fran Pavley
of Agoura Hills in a district in which Republican Partyleaders had to scramble to find a candidate. But instead, of course, Gorell is runningfor re-election to the Assembly.But that doesn't mean he isn't playing a role in the 27th Senate District race. In additionto giving a modest $1.150 directly to the campaign of L.A. County prosecutor 
, who is running against Pavley, Gorell this spring contributed $20,000 to the SanLuis Obispo County Republican Party. And what is the San Luis Obispo County GOP doing with its money? On Wednesday, itdropped a cool $70,000 into Zink's campaign.Last we checked, San Luis Obispo is avery long way from eastern Ventura County, where Zink and Pavley will be squaring off.
Tit for tat on candidate tax problems in 24th CD

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