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May 25, 2011

Video: Paul Ryan Explains Medicare Reform

Topics: Political News and commentaries

No one better explains House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare Reform, then Paul Ryan:

"We can no longer let politicians in Washington deny the danger to Medicare - the danger is all too real, and the health of our nation's seniors is far too important. We have to save Medicare to avoid disruptions in benefits for current seniors, and to strengthen the program for future generations. House Republicans have put forward a plan to do just that. Democratic leaders in Congress have failed to produce a plan -- it has been 755 days since Senate Democrats even passed a budget. Meanwhile, the President's plan would empower a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats to cut Medicare for current seniors, while failing to save the program for future retirees."
While all of this is true, Ryan's plan is not without its detractors. As Steven Taylor points out over at Outside the Beltway, there are legitimate questions that call the Plan into question from a policy perspective and there are two key ones:
[...] First, the Plan substantially restructures Medicare and changes it from a clearly defined, guaranteed benefit to a more nebulous program. Yes, seniors would be guaranteed a voucher, but they are on their own from there. Second, apart from hope (back to that word) that market forces and state-run (via block grants) programs will lower costs, the Plan does not directly address the health care cost question, which is at the heart of the need to reform Medicare in the first place.

So, in other words, the Plan does not promise the same level of benefit that the current program does and it fails to deal with the cost issue.

Bottom line, if you're over age 54, you needn't worry about the proposal House Budget Committee chairman Ryan's plan for Medicare reform. If you're under age 54, you'll end up paying somewhat of a bigger share of the cost of your medical care once you're retired. "Wealthy seniors" would get less premium support, while poorer and sicker seniors would get more. Overall, Ryan's premium support system would shift more costs onto seniors as a group (those that are now under age 54). Ryan's Medicare reform plan would save as much as $285 billion a year by 2030, and would mean less federal spending on medical care in future decades for today's workers and their children.

Although the Ryan plan has its shortfalls, almost everyone who understands simple math recognizes that Medicare must be reformed, and so far the Ryan plan is the only plan that's actually on the table. So far, neither the president nor his party have offered a reform plan, choosing instead to simply attack the Ryan plan and offer no plan of their own. After all, that may be a lousy way to run a country and guarantee its future solvency, but it makes for good political strategy ... and for Democrats, that's all that matters. For them, the country's solvency may be headed to hell in a hand basket, but winning elections is more important.

Learn more about the House-passed Fiscal Year 2012 Budget -- The Path to Prosperity - here. Learn more about the facts on the House Republicans' plan to save and strengthen Medicare - here.

Related: Rep. Paul Ryan's Plan vs. Barack Obama's Budget

Posted by Richard at May 25, 2011 8:38 AM



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