In an attempt to reframe the budget debate, Republicans are proposing a 2012 budget that features $4 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade—and would end Medicare as we know it, reports the Wall Street Journal. Democrats won’t likely support the 2012 plan, helmed by House Budget Chair Paul Ryan, but Republicans are betting Americans are concerned enough about the deficit that they’ll support vast cuts to a system that pays bills for many, the Journal notes. Under the plan, which would affect those now under 55, Medicare would become a “premium support” system.
At 65, participants would select a private insurance plan, and the government would pay about the first $15,000 in premiums, with the poor and less healthy receiving heftier amounts. “There is nobody saying that Medicare can stay in its current path,” Ryan said. As it stands, the program is projected to cost $502.8 billion in 2016. Ryan’s plan would also likely overhaul Medicaid and rework the tax system, lowering the top rate to 25% for individuals and corporations while still bringing in the same amount of money, insiders said.