Here We Go Again! The GOP's War on Medicare and Social Security
WASHINGTON (AP) —
Conservative House Republicans on Tuesday set up what appears to be a
potential re-run of last year's turbulent domestic policy fight with President Barack Obama, putting forward an election-year budget manifesto that would blend steep social program cuts with reduced tax rates.
The GOP plan released by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would, if enacted into law, wrestle the deficit to a manageable size in short order, but only by cutting Medicaid, food stamps, Pell Grants and a host of other programs that Obama has promised to protect.
To deal with the influx of retiring Baby Boomers, the GOP budget reprises a controversial approach to overhauling Medicare
that would switch the program — for those under 55 today — from a
traditional "fee for service" framework in which the government pays
doctor and hospital bills to a voucherlike "premium support" approach in
which the government subsidizes purchases of health insurance.
say the new approach forces competition upon a wasteful health care
system, lowering cost increases and giving senior more options. But
Democratic opponents of the idea say the new system — designed by Ryan
and liberal Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon — cuts costs too steeply and would
provide the elderly with a steadily shrinking menu of options and higher
out-of-pocket costs. Starting in 10 years, the plan also calls for
gradually raising the Medicare retirement age from 65 to 67.
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