Everyone knows that once the State provides welfare benefits, citizens fall in love with them and they become impossible to trim or repeal if they become expensive later.
If you have a centrist, faux-liberal Democratic president, eager for “history” to redeem him, and to be seen as a president who “changed the fundamental trajectory of this country”. He’d sell out his liberal base and Medicare in a heartbeat if it gave him a legacy, admired by the center for two terms and life after. — You can always lower taxes later, but you can’t get rid of entitlements once they’re granted. A Republican party that could see beyond the next election, and its fervently anti-Obama base, would take advantage of this moment to swing the country towards more unregulated capitalism. But they’re too stupid to progress their own agenda.