Needless to say, boldness hasn’t been a quality associated with Mitt Romney during this campaign. That makes his endorsement of bold and specific proposals for entitlement reform in a speech at Americans for Prosperity last week all the more noteworthy.
Most significant, Romney outlined a plan that would transform Medicare into a premium-support program — while holding current seniors and near-retirees harmless, and retaining an optional form of traditional Medicare (restructured as a premium-charging government insurance plan) to smooth the transition. It differs in details from the plan introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan and supported by the overwhelming majority of congressional Republicans, but the plans share their most critical features: reintroducing choice to seniors and competition to the health-insurance market while defusing the fiscal time bomb that is Medicare before it beggars the nation. In his speech, Romney also vowed to introduce forms of means testing to both Medicare and Social Security, while gently raising the eligibility age of the latter. All of this — as well as his promises to block-grant Medicaid to the states and institute real cuts in discretionary spending — deserves praise.
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