Republicans are expected to oppose significant changes to the program.
“From our perspective this program has been wildly successful beyond any estimation that we could have made back in 2003 when we passed the Medicare Modernization Act. [In light of this], why are we talking about making fundamental changes to this program?” said the Republican congressional staffer.
Short Window for Action
While action seems likely, there is a short window of opportunity before election politics come into play, said Dr. Ornstein.
“The conventional wisdom is that in a presidential election year where there's an open contest in the final 2 years of a two-term president, you have about an 8-month window to move things along. That doesn't mean you have to finish everything, but … you better be pretty close to field goal range at the end of that 8 months,” he said.
That seems likely to hold true now this year given that, at last count, at least 26 members of Congress have announced or are considering announcing a run for the White House, Dr. Ornstein said.