Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Let Clinton Solve Medicare

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Let Clinton Solve Medicare

Article excerpt

Bob Dole had barely finished his concession speech when the nation's airwaves experienced an eruption of sweet-natured bipartisanship. With Dole freshly buried, from coast to coast, pols and pundits called on the newly re-elected president and the newly re-elected Congress to work together to solve the country's problems. It was all harmless fluff until one high-minded enthusiasm swept the pundit class with particular ferocity: a bipartisan commission to reform Medicare, headed by Dole.

Clinton would be very smart to adopt the idea; Dole, a fool to accept it.

One has to admire the audacity of the proposal. The bipartisan commission on Medicare was, after all, Dole's idea. He spent the entire campaign proposing it, while Clinton and the Democrats kept accusing the Republicans of wanting to destroy Medicare and throw old folks into the snow. The Democrats were merciless in their exploitation of Medicare and it worked. There are only two states in the union that George Bush had won in 1992 that Dole could not hang on to: Florida and Arizona. What links them is more than spring training. It is their attraction as havens for retirees. Clinton didn't just carry the two states on the backs of seniors convinced that Dole would rob them of Medicare. He also managed to stop Republican congressional gains with the same technique. Republicans saved their House majority by picking up open seats throughout the South. Not in Florida, however. There were three open House seats in Florida. Republicans lost them all. Nor was there any secret about the dishonesty of the Democratic campaign on Medicare. As John Merline pointed out in an examination of Clinton's own September 1993 health-care reform plan (Slate magazine, Oct. 24), Clinton had proposed greater cuts in Medicare than even those proposed by his hybrid opponent, Dole/Gingrich. That did not prevent Clinton from shamelessly playing the Medicare card. Now that the campaign is over and Clinton must govern again, he is being urged to get himself out of the Medicare mess - the hospital insurance fund will be broke by 2002 - with a commission that would spread the blame for the cuts that everyone knows are necessary. …

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