Under the Dome

Updated: Bowles once praised Paul Ryan, but called Medicare changes 'pretty radical'

UPDATED: A video clip of Erskine Bowles, the co-chairman of President Obama's deficit commission, singing the praises of fellow number cruncher Paul Ryan is making the rounds on the Internet -- but it doesn't accurately represent his entire speech.

In fact, the video maker cut out the part of the speech where Bowles calls the Wisconsin congressman's 2011 plan for Medicare "pretty radical." (See below for a more complete audio.)

Republicans rather focus on these quotes in the clip: "I'm telling you, this guy is amazing," Bowles says of Ryan. "I always thought I was OK with arithmetic, this guy can run circles around me."

"The budget he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan," he continued. "It is a sensible, straightforward, honest, serious budget ..."

The whole speech is not posted, just clips, so it's hard to tell the complete context of Bowles words. Case in point: later in the speech, Bowles went point-by-point comparing the plan drafted by the deficit commission he co-chaired to Ryan's proposal. 

What's cut from the video is Bowles discussion of making Medicare a defined contribution plan, instead of a defined benefit plan. "We thought that was a pretty radical change," Bowles said. "And what we said is lets test it in the federal employees health care plan and see if it works. What we would rather do is we cut spending in the health care programs by about $450 billion. And our hope was ... we wouldn't have to do something more drastic like Paul had recommended or a something more drastic like a single payer plan."

Listen to all Bowles thoughts on Ryan's plan here. And get the audio of Bowles' full speech here from State Government Radio.

(Another note: Bowles is referring to Ryan's 2011 plan, which changed a little from his 2012 proposal.)


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Concerned about needless name calling

To concerned53,

Your name calling of "Slimy Dem" is extreme.

Instead of insulting fellow Americans for their opinion and own concerns, why not view the whole video. In it Bowles does praise Ryan for his mathematical skills and he also expressed concern for his radical plan for Medicare. The video was recorded late last year in November 2011. 

As a hard working tax paying undeclared voter of 53, bearly missing that 55 cut off. I know I am concerned. I will want to know more about it how it works and could affect me and hopefully not burden my children. 

Thanks, John.

Thanks, John.

3 things every voter needs to know about Ryan’s Medicare Plan

1. No one over the age of 55 would be affected in any way.

2. Traditional Medicare fee-for-service would remain available for all. “Premium support”—that is, government funding of private insurance plans chosen by individuals—is an option for those who choose it. No senior would be forced out of the traditional Medicare program against his will.

3. Overall funding for Medicare under the Ryan-Wyden plan is scheduled to grow at the same rate as under President Obama’s proposals. Is this “gutting Medicare” and “ending Medicare as we know it”? In reality, it’s the market giving seniors cheaper, higher quality choices they can take if they wish, with the traditional program remaining an option.


The administration is condemning the Ryan plan saying it will “end Medicare as we know it.” The truth is “Medicare as we know it” is going broke, and when it does (not if, but when) it will take our entire economy down with it. If Obama doesn’t believe this, then let him look the American people in the eye and tell us that “Medicare as we know it” is doing fine. If not, he needs to tell us how exactly how he plans to avert this disaster, or why his option to do nothing. Either way, whether we adopt some kind of reform to transform Medicare as we know it into Medicare as we can sustain it, or whether we simply let the economy be driven off the cliff by unrestrained entitlement spending, Medicare as we know it will end.

oh gee, by the time I got

oh gee, by the time I got around to uploading that video and registering, you'd updated already! My bad :)

Erskine Bowles: Ryan budget cuts to Medicare "radical... drastic

They deliberately cut out a rather important part of the video!

Google Erskine Bowles: Ryan budget cuts to Medicare "radical... drastic"

Radical in a complimentary way, not negative like Frank implies

John Frank is again taking things out of context when he says that Ryan's plan is "radical" in the headline.  Each point that Bowles made about Ryan's Medicare changes; he stated that there is some truth to Ryan's theories; they are big changes; and we should test to see if they work.  In fact, one of Ryan's theories is being tested, and he said that the test is doing well in one state where they have results - in Rhode Island. 

The conclusion I came to after listening to Bowles' entire clip is that Erskine was impressed both with Ryan and his ideas, and that like in business, the ideas might need to be tested before being put into action.  John, that is not your connotation of radical. Quit showing your bias...

Bowles said the same thing elsewhere

I heard him say the same thing about Ryan late last year.  If he now is saying anything different, it is strictly for political reasons which puts him in the camp of a slimy dem who will say anything to get fellow democrats elected - even though he can't stand Obama.

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