House GOP Eyes Medicare Privatization

Voucher plan would apply to those 54 and under
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 28, 2011 9:32 AM CST
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairs a hearing on the fiscal impact of health care overhaul, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – House Republicans slammed Democrats for making cuts to Medicare, but now the GOP is mulling a renewed effort to privatize the program, the AP reports. House budget leader Paul Ryan is assessing support for his voucher-based system, in which the government would give seniors a fixed payment; they’d then purchase a health plan from a list of options.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer blasted the plan. “Anyone who doesn't think privatization will mean severe cuts to Medicare benefits, I have a bridge I'd like to sell them,” he said. “Privatization will make the cuts previously proposed by either party look tame." The proposal would only apply to those currently aged 54 and younger, who would begin receiving the fixed payments when they become eligible at age 65. In a poll last year, 51% of Americans opposed the voucher plan, but 47% of those born after 1980 supported it, compared to 41% against.
(Read more House Republicans stories.)

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