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Mitch McConnell says it out loud: Republicans are gunning for Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare next

  October 19, 2018 | By Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

All Washington seems to be buzzing this week over a single question: Is Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) deliberately trying to throw the election to the Democrats?

At the root of the debate are interviews the Senate majority leader gave to Bloomberg and Reuters on Tuesday and Wednesday. McConnell identified “entitlements” — that’s Washington code for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — as “the real drivers of the debt” and called for them to be adjusted “to the demographics of the future.”

Translation: He wants to cut benefits.

In terms of Republican orthodoxy, McConnell’s remarks are nothing new. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) each made exactly the same point last November and December. McConnell himself has made the point before, including during a speech in his home state in 2013.

McConnell’s position on the social insurance programs fits in with Republican policy on the Affordable Care Act; as it happens, the majority leader also telegraphed a plan to try again to repeal the ACA after the midterm elections. That’s despite indications that the ACA is becoming more popular with the public, not less, and voters’ concerns about preserving its protections for those with preexisting conditions may be driving them to the polls — and not to vote Republican.

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