The Corner

Roadmap v. PPACA on Medicare

If Democrats are going to insist on attacking House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” as if it were the official Republican platform — it’s not — the Wisconsin Republican won’t be shy about defending his proposal. 

Here is Ryan explaining how his own plan for dealing with Medicare spending stacks up against the Democratic plan, i.e. Obamacare:

“I find it interesting that the ranking member not talking about the health care law we’re having a hearing on today, but about an individual member’s proposal [the Roadmap].

“Let me just say a couple of things just to clear the air. Under my proposal, Medicare spending — as a percent of GDP — never goes down from where it is today. It’s actually higher at the end of the window. Point number one. Point number two: We grandfathered the existing population — at current Medicare growth rates. The short-term savings are about half of what PPACA is. This scenario [Van Hollen] is talking about applies to people 54 an below. People 55 and above grow at current rates, unlike the current law we just now went through. That’s another point.

“We’ll have to get into — and we ought to do a hearing on this — on how best to reform Medicare. We know we’re making promises to people in the future that will not be kept — that the government simply cannot [keep]. So the question is: what’s the best way to proceed? What’s the most humane way to proceed? And what’s the best way to reform this program so we get more bang for our buck. So that we turn health care spending into a virtuous cycle…instead of a vicious cycle, which spins our debt and deficit out of control.

“Do we empower consumers, or do we price-control from the government? What works best? …Medicare is the biggest driver of our debt. We’re all kidding ourselves if we think the program can just go on as is, and the sooner we address this the better off everybody is — the better we can guarantee my mom, who’s been on it for a number of years, and everybody else’s mom and dad, can have the program they organized their lives around, and that future retirees have a program they actually can count on. That’s the purpose of this particular bill that I introduced, and that’s hopefully the purpose of what we’re all trying to achieve.”

Andrew Stiles — Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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