Mark Meadows’ Medicare Problem


NC-11 Congressional candidate Mark Meadows has stated his support for Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plan, which even Newt Gingrich says is “too big a jump”.

The congressional race between Hayden Rogers and Mark Meadows was going to be tight no matter what. The newly drawn district is the most conservative in North Carolina, and conservative officeholder Heath Shuler decided not to give it a go. That left Meadows, a Cashiers resident who touts his far right wing ideology, and Rogers, a native whose views mirror Heath Shuler’s, to fight it out on the issues.

Meadows shocked the district last week when he announced his support for Paul Ryan’s plan ending Medicare as we know it and instituting a voucher program. NYT:

“…one of the biggest challenges facing the Republican ticket this year: countering the Democrats’ longstanding advantage as the party more trusted to deal with Medicare.
At the heart of the conflict is the proposal backed by Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan to change the way Medicare works in an effort to drive down health care costs and keep the program solvent as the population ages. Under their plan, retirees would get a fixed annual payment from the government that they could use to buy traditional Medicare coverage or a private health insurance policy. Supporters say the change would hold expenses down by introducing more competition into the system.

Critics say the fixed payments might not keep up with rising insurance costs and could leave older Americans facing cutbacks in care or paying more out of their own pockets. Democrats contend that Medicare’s rising costs can be held down within the existing system.

Conservative Democrat Hayden Rogers has been hearing from constituents on this:

A group of seniors — Democrats and some unaffiliated voters — met with Democratic congressional candidate Hayden Rogers at the Haywood County Public Library on Friday. He is running against Republican Mark Meadows in the 11th District.

The group as a whole opposed any move to privatize Medicare through vouchers.

“It really scares us,” one lady in the crowd of about 30 people said when Rogers asked the group about proposed changes by Republicans like Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan.

This issue could be the one that decides the election. Adding complications is the Meadows campaign insistence on parroting a discredited Republican talking point about the Affordable Care Act. You’ve heard it before. Politifact:

…Obama “funneled” $716 billion out of Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” This gives a very misleading impression.

In fact, the law limits payments to health care providers and insurers to try to reduce the rapid growth of future Medicare spending. Lawmakers said they hoped the measures would improve care and efficiency. Those savings, spread out over the next 10 years, are then used to offset costs created by the law (especially coverage for the uninsured) so that the overall law doesn’t add to the deficit. Ryan’s statement is exaggerated and we rate it Mostly False.

Mark Meadows backing the Ryan Plan is unsurprising, as Mr. Meadows has a viewpoint that embraces other fringe concepts like Agenda 21 and, for a brief time, Birtherism. The question is whether Mr. Meadows extreme views will win him a majority in November.


  1. Robert Danos says:


    I have to admire your chutzpah as a spinner, but this is one of the funniest pieces of BS you’ve put on here in a long time:

    “The congressional race between Hayden Rogers and Mark Meadows was going to be tight no matter what.”

    Now you and I both know that is baloney. Roll Call, Rothenberg, Cooke Report, etc… knows its baloney.

    Following the $, we know that the DCCC knows its baloney as they have already spent over $1 million in NC-7 and NC-8 to try and save those seats but have not spent a penny here.

    We know that if they were ever going to spend any real money here, it would have start many weeks ago (as in 7 & 8) to get an early jump on defining the Republican new face, but they haven’t and won’t.

    Same with the Dem-aligned Super PAC’s – spending there not here.

    Rogers is on his own, low on money, no name i.d., not on TV (see Meadows for contrast) and is simply waiting til November 7th to find out what job his Blue Dog/NCDP pals get him for taking one for the team and not letting Cecil Bothwell become the “brand” of Dems here.

    If you are even slighty serious, I’d love to hear your electoral definition of the term “tight”. I assure you it will be about as “tight” as McHenry v. Keever.

    The second punchline was this: “Meadows shocked the district last week when he announced his support for Paul Ryan’s plan…”

    Who was shocked? Not you, not any reporter, or any voter who paid any attention to our primary at all. From the very beginning Mark has been in favor of a model similar to what Ryan put forward to fix what your party refuses to. As rabid right winger Erskine Bowels said – This is a very serious proposal that needs serious discussion from a very bright man.

    So I’ve pondered what would lead you to such spinning/boosterism for a lost race that will as tight as the Grand Canyon.

    The only logical motive I can think of is to try and heal some of the major rift between the hard core Obama supporters who right now won’t life a finger to work with the Rogers people. It is true in Buncombe Young Dems, OFA, Henderson Dems, everywhere. Rogers’ pointless snubbing of Obama has poured lots of sand in to the Dem grassroots efforts that until now were willing to hold their nose and push Shuler.

    You may get them singing kumbaya together, but it won’t come from any pretense of a “tight race” or a “surprise” in the Medicare debate.

    Obama/Romney in NC might still be tight though in which case a little help from Rogers’s campaign couldn’t hurt but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  2. Gordon Smith says:


    You make pretty cynical interpretation of the post. From where I sit, it looks like the Ryan Medicare voucher plan is a big deal, and people who learn more about it don’t seem to like it. It’s of general interest that the Republican candidate believes in a UN conspiracy to control our government through sustainability. That’s notable. He also said of the President, “We will send him back home to Kenya or wherever it is.” Also notable.

    Put ’em together and you’ve got a GOP candidate who may be a ideological bridge too far for people who share what Heath Shuler called, “our mountain values”. My two cents.

  3. Doug Gibson says:

    I notice that all the “spin” Gordon’s accused of concerns the horse-race issue of who’s going to win NC 11. So is Obama “siphoning” $700 billion out of Medicare, or not, Mr. Danos?

    And can I say, as someone involved in the Democratic Party, that you don’t further your arguments when you quote Erskine Bowles? I know, I know – you regard him as some sort of Solon of the party, the guy everyone who was anyone wanted to run for governor. But from where I sit, there are two reasons he didn’t run this year. First, while he certainly has his redeeming qualities, pretty much everyone at the grass roots regards him as a loser. Yes, his fundraising advantage got him through two senatorial primaries – nobody can raise money like a director at Morgan-Stanley! – but his many weaknesses as a candidate helped him lose both elections. And so people are less inclined to vote for him – or pay attention to his opinions – simply because he can raise money.

    Which brings me to reason two. My guess for why he didn’t run is that he knew he couldn’t win the primary, not after having shown himself to be a poor campaigner, certainly not after having led the Simpson-Bowles commission – and especially not after having “gone rogue” and released a set of recommendations on his own authority that he couldn’t get the commission to pass.

    All of which adds up to: Erskine Bowles doesn’t speak for the party. He doesn’t speak for a majority of Democrats. He doesn’t even have all that much authority as a party elder. Honestly, you might as well cite Dick Morris in support of Paul Ryan for all the good it’ll do you.

    But otherwise, your civility in these discussions is always appreciated.

  4. Keith Thomson says:

    Did anyone catch Mark Meadows’ speech, in his home town, at the Tampa RNC? It was in the afternoon, but C-SPAN covered it.

  5. Gordon Smith says:

    David Frum on Twitter today asks, “How do you message: I’m doing away w Medicaid over the next 10 yrs, Medicare after that, to finance a cut in the top rate of tax to 28%?”

  6. Keith Thomson says:

    I suppose they will say that if the top tax rate is cut, there would be more buyers of golf course homes, and developers like Mark Meadows in Cashiers would create jobs in the 11th District so that local folks could pay the rest of their health care costs not covered by the diminishing value Paul Ryan’s voucher? We could become more like Florida if only there were less taxes on these “job creators.”

  7. Robert Danos says:


    OK, I will be less cynical and accept that you believe that you truly see this as a tight race. Though that only means that I withdraw my “spinner” charge and swap it with “math challenged and prognistically challenged”:)


    and (lots of NC 7 & 8 ads, zero NC11)

  8. Robert Danos says:


    “But otherwise, your civility in these discussions is always appreciated.”

    Thanks, I’ve never seen much use in the opposite approach unless someone cheap shots first:) I stop by here often to read and occasionally to enjoy jousting – I find people who only want to talk with those they already agree with to be very boring.

    “I notice that all the “spin” Gordon’s accused of concerns the horse-race issue of who’s going to win NC 11.”

    With all due respect, Gordon’s post is mostly about said horse race from opener to closer but I am happy to address the question.

    “So is Obama “siphoning” $700 billion out of Medicare, or not, Mr. Danos?”

    Yes, though with an accounting trick that postpones the pain:

    “There is only one way to simultaneously spend trillions on new insurance subsidies, Medicaid expansions and other outlays and still make good on the future Medicare commitments: Cut an additional $716 billion elsewhere, or raise an additional $716 billion in taxes. The ACA does neither.” – Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Ph.D., former director of the Congressional Budget Office

  9. RHS says:

    “How do you message: I’m doing away w Medicaid over the next 10 yrs, Medicare after that, to finance a cut in the top rate of tax to 28%?””

    Easy. You just sound off the alarm over social issues like gay rights and pander to people who think the President was not born in the US and that the UN is trying to take over, etc.

  10. Big Ivy says:

    Well, shoot! I keep thinking that Erskine Bowles is a Republican until someone indicates otherwise and then I just sit there and think “Whaaat?”