Sen. Scott Brown — a Republican from deep-blue Massachusetts — was once considered a crucial backer of Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial plan to transform Medicare into a voucher system. Now, in an op-ed for Politico, Brown says he won't vote for the proposal after all. Echoing Democratic objections, Brown says rising costs would ultimately leave some elderly Americans unable to pay their health care bills. A special congressional election Tuesday in upstate New York has also become a Medicare proxy war, with the issue appearing to give the Democrat there a boost. How bad is this "toxic" plan for the GOP?

Republicans are in deep trouble: Brown tried to paint a happy face on his no vote, says Joan McCarter at Daily Kos, by saying that House budget guru "Paul Ryan was really, really brave" to put his plan out there. But Brown is basically admitting that Paul's plan actually "decimates Medicare." His "defection shows the real problem the GOP has on this stinker of an issue."
"Scott Brown vetoes Scott Brown, says no to Republican Medicare plan"

This hurts Brown more than it hurts the GOP: "This is pathetic," says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. Brown's "lame" remedy to restore Medicare's solvency is cutting the 10 percent of the system's spending that is siphoned off by waste, fraud, and abuse. Ryan's also plan does that — "but what serious observer thinks this is sufficient?" Brown seems to have forgotten what fiscal responsibility is. Maybe a challenge in the GOP primary will remind him."Sen. Scott Brown attacks Ryan plan, but did he read it?"

Brown is hanging GOP colleagues out to dry: The Republicans who have already voted for this disastrous plan needed people like Brown on board to shield them from the inevitable backlash, says Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo. By hammering the plan from the left, Brown became the first moderate Republican to back up the Democratic argument that the GOP plan will hurt the little guy. That "validates the view that the GOP budget is far out of the mainstream."
"Walkback complete: Scott Brown now attacks GOP Medicare plan he recently praised"