Ryan’s Medicare Plan Comes Under Greater Scrutiny

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Medicaid, Politics

Aug 13, 2012

As Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., moves to the national stage as GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney‘s running mate pick, his proposals to reshape Medicare, Medicaid and other safety net programs emerge as political lightning rods.

The Wall Street Journal: Selection Sets Off Debate On Government
Until now, in a 2012 campaign bristling with negative attacks and accusations about the character of the two candidates, big policy choices have been eclipsed. That changes with the selection of Mr. Ryan, author of detailed conservative budget plans that call for major changes to many social programs, offering voters a choice: Are welfare services a safety net, or can they breed dependency? Is Medicare a social contract with the elderly, or unsustainable and in need of repair? And will cuts in government spending hurt economic growth, or foster a more robust private sector? (Hook and Paletta, 8/12).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ryan’s Medicare Plan Mired In Controversy
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposals to revamp Medicare confront an economic reality: The rise in health care spending threatens the country’s fiscal future. Ryan’s approach – which has evolved in recent years – is the most controversial provision in his broad plan for reining in federal spending and lowering the budget deficit…. Ryan and others contend that competition among health plans will slow the rise in spending by forcing hospitals, doctors and other health care providers to become more efficient. Many economists, however, question whether that would happen (Boulton, 8/11).

The Associated Press: GOP’s VP Picks’ Medicare Plan Back In Spotlight
Republican Paul Ryan’s blueprint for Medicare could prove as polarizing in the campaign as President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul has been. Even Mitt Romney may not want to go there. Romney’s new running mate has built a strong reputation on Capitol Hill for bold ideas to restrain health care costs and federal spending overall. His centerpiece idea is to steer future retirees into private insurance plans, with a fixed payment from the government that may or may not cover as much of a retiree’s costs as does the current program (8/13).

Bloomberg: Ryan Plan to Revamp Medicare With Private Choices Draws Skeptics
Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan wouldn’t, as Democrats charge, end the program as Americans know it. It likely would increase costs or reduce benefits for many seniors. … “No question” it will raise costs, said Uwe Reinhardt, a health-care economist at Princeton University, dismissing the claim that the market can solve the problem. “You can tell me that, and you can also tell me communism works if properly practiced. But show me the goods, show me that you could do that” (Faler, 8/13).

The Washington Post: With Paul Ryan As Romney’s VP Pick, Democrats Pounce On GOP Budget Plan
If Romney is betting that his selection of Ryan will rally his conservative base in a nip-and-tuck election, Democrats are counting on its having the same effect on their side. For months, the Obama campaign has been trying to tie Romney to Ryan’s Republican House budget proposal, which the president in April called “social Darwinism” that would pit the poor against the wealthy. Ryan has proposed major cuts to spending and entitlement programs in an effort to curb the spiraling national debt (Nakamura, 8/12).

Kaiser Health News: FAQ: How Paul Ryan Proposes To Change Medicare
Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president, has provoked consternation from Democrats and anxiety among some congressional Republicans with his proposals to reshape Medicare (Werber Serafini, 8/11).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Fact Check: Romney-Ryan Team Debut Leaves Some Facts In The Dust, On Budget, Medicare And More
In his debut as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan promised “America’s comeback team” won’t duck tough budget issues, although the man standing next to him has kept his head low so far. Romney vowed the duo would “preserve” Medicare, an eye-popping claim considering Ryan wants to transform the program from the ground up (8/12).

NPR: Medicaid Fight Reinvigorated With Political Light On Health Care
The addition of Rep. Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket is certain to elevate health care as a campaign issue this fall. Most of the debate is likely to be about Medicare, and Ryan’s controversial plan to transform the popular program for the elderly and disabled. But some of the attention is likely to focus on Medicaid, the health care program for those with low incomes, as well (Rovner, 8/13).

CNN Money: Romney-Ryan Would Aim To Overhaul Medicaid
Ryan, currently a House Republican and picked this weekend to be Romney’s running mate, wants to turn Medicaid and food stamps into block grants and make recipients work for certain benefits, according to his budget proposal unveiled in March. … Here’s how Medicaid and food stamps would work under the proposal: The federal government would give states a set amount of funds to cover their Medicaid recipients in the form of a block grant. States would also be given more flexibility to tailor the program’s requirements and enrollment criteria. Ryan says his plan would curtail Medicaid spending by $810 billion over 10 years. In 2022, federal Medicaid funding would be about 34% less than states would receive under current law, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Luhby, 8/13).

Also from Kaiser Health News, a list of essential reading on Ryan’s Medicare proposals.

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

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