Norquist backs Lieberman's Medicare proposal

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist said Wednesday that he supports the Medicare plan released by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)

Norquist said “ideal” Medicare reform would look more like the proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which would convert Medicare into a sort of voucher system. But Lieberman and Coburn’s proposal would improve the program without raising taxes, Norquist said.

The Lieberman plan would require higher-income beneficiaries to pay more out-of-pocket costs and raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67.

“The alternative would be raising taxes, cutting benefits for less affluent seniors, or going into unsustainable levels of debt,” Norquist wrote in a letter to Lieberman and Coburn.

Coburn broke with Norquist in April to support including some tax increases in a deficit-reduction agreement. Lieberman, however, said Tuesday that he dropped a proposed income tax hike from his Medicare plan in order to win Coburn’s support.

“Your outline gives a path forward for Medicare should fundamental reform not be achieved,” Norquist said in his letter to the senators. “Most importantly, and pending a full score, the Coburn-Lieberman outline appears to address Medicare’s problems without raising taxes.”