GOP refocuses healthcare attacks on charges of 'rationing'

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And Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) warned that “President Obama’s plan has been the most dangerous” proposal yet for Medicare.

The GOP doctors repeatedly referred to the IPAB as Democrats’ “plan” at a news conference Wednesday. That’s a change in tone from the past few months, when the GOP charged that Obama was content to let Medicare spiral out of control.

As Democrats launched round after round of attacks on the House GOP’s plan to convert Medicare into a sort of voucher system, Republican members complained that Democrats were maligning a serious proposal without releasing their own plan to shore up Medicare’s finances.

Just last week, Republicans in both chambers wrote to Obama demanding a plan for Medicare.

Asked about the change, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) told The Hill that Democrats do have a plan, but that Congress should ax the IPAB before it can take effect. The Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Burgess is a member, is planning a hearing on the IPAB for next month.

Even some supporters of the overall healthcare law weren’t wild about the IPAB, especially in the House. It wasn’t included in the House-passed healthcare bill, and some Democrats complained about handing over power that otherwise would belong to Congress.

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) charged at Wednesday’s news conference that, thanks largely to the IPAB, the healthcare law has “already ended Medicare as we know it” — a play on the line that Democrats have used to attack the Republican proposal.

The GOP's plan would give seniors a range of choices for healthcare, he said, rather than putting "unelected bureaucrats" in charge of deciding what gets covered.