ShareThis Page
Nation

Top Senate Republican says Medicare plan still 'on the table'

| Monday, May 30, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The top Republican in the Senate said Sunday that a controversial House Medicare plan is "on the table" as President Obama and his GOP rivals wrestle over budget cuts to enact this summer.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on NBC's "Meet The Press" that he supports the controversial plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to transform Medicare into a voucher-like system in which future beneficiaries -- those 54 and younger -- would get subsidies to buy health insurance rather than have the government directly pay their doctor and hospital bills.

The House plan has come under a sustained assault from Democrats, who charge it would "end Medicare as we know it." Democrats successfully used the charge in winning a House special election in a strongly Republican district in upstate New York last week.

Asked whether he would concede that the Ryan Medicare plan won't be part of any budget deal this year, McConnell said: "No. It's on the table."

McConnell was referring to budget talks led by Vice President Joe Biden and senior lawmakers in both parties over what spending cuts to add to must-pass legislation to allow the government to continue to borrow to fund federal programs and prevent a market-rattling, first-ever default on U.S. bonds

But McConnell seemed to acknowledge that with a Democrat in the White House, the Ryan plan is effectively dead for now. The measure by the Wisconsin GOP congressman also fell well short in a Senate vote last week.

"I'm personally very comfortable with the way Paul Ryan would structure it," McConnell said. "But we have a Democratic president. We're going to have to negotiate with him on the terms of changing Medicare so we can save Medicare."

Appearing on the same program, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Republicans to abandon the House Medicare plan, noting an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that says it would require seniors to shoulder an increasingly large share of their health care costs.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me