House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who has been castigated by Democrats and hailed by Republicans for his plan to privatize Medicare, will on Thursday unveil a new approach that would preserve the 46-year-old federal health program.
Working with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the Wisconsin Republican is developing a framework that would keep government-run Medicare as an option for new retirees starting in 2022, along with a variety of private plans.
Seniors would still receive a set amount of money from the government to buy insurance, as they would under the Medicare proposal Ryan included in the budget blueprint that passed the House last year. But the new approach would let that subsidy, known as premium support, rise or fall along with the actual cost of the policies — creating more protection for seniors and saving potentially far less in the budget.
The unusual alliance between Ryan and Wyden could complicate election-year politics for both parties on an explosive issue. In recent days, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has embraced the Ryan privatization plan, and GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich has offered qualified support. Democrats, meanwhile, have been gearing up to challenge the GOP across the board on the issue, accusing Republicans of pushing to “end the Medicare guarantee.”
Ryan and Wyden said in an interview Tuesday that they joined forces in hopes of lifting the Medicare debate above the divisive political rhetoric and forging a genuine compromise that could save the program along with the government’s solvency.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
But the President and Democrats should kick his ass for this. No Privatization of Medicare, ever.