It appears the Republicans have learned a lesson from their predictable defeat in the 26th congressional district in New York. But the lesson they've gleaned is not that dismantling Medicare as we know it is unacceptable to an overwhelming majority of Americans. Instead, they've learned that they must "reframe" the debate— that they need to put it in a brand new box and scrape off the warning label.
Republicans are saying, "we need to do something." They're saying, "the Ryan plan was just a start." Well, last I checked, you don't vote on a bill until it's finalized, and the Republican majority in the House was pretty excited about voting on it in its original state. Marco Rubio said that to do nothing is the same as being in favor of destroying Medicare. Of course, he is implying that the Democrats are doing nothing.
But the Democrats have advocated for changes that will make a difference. They have suggested that Part D (the prescription benefit) should be reorganized so that lower drug prices can be negotiated with pharmaceutical companies, just as the Veterans Administration does. This would realize significant savings. Remember, Part D was George Bush's unfunded "entitlement."
Democrats have also suggested that we eliminate subsidies to Big Oil and let the Bush Tax Cuts on the top 2% expire. That's a "start," too. It's not drafted as a bill yet, because it really is just a start. Democrats have always come to the table from a position of compromise (too often, in my opinion).
So once again, I would ask that you listen to the Republicans' reframed, repackaged message with a critical ear. You will realize that they haven't heard 70-80% of the American people who have resoundingly denounce the Ryan Plan, because they are too busy listening to their own constituencies— Big Oil, Big Pharma, and millionaires.
You can wrap a cow pie in gold leaf, but if you scratch the surface... well you know what it smells like!