Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in a recent interview that he’s not ruling out Medicare privatization. A frequent opponent of The Affordable Care Act and Obama’s Patient Protection, he said that he’s not ruling out an overhaul of the current Medicare system.
In order to appease those who thought that meant full privatization, Ryan hedged, saying:
“We are going to have to do things to preserve and shore up this program.”
He has stated that he wants this overhaul of the system, “so we can guarantee that it’s there intact for current seniors but also that there’s something there for us when we retire.”
For context, Ryan’s current salary is $223,500, so it’s fair to say that, regardless of how this goes, there will be “something there for him when he retires.” However, it’s not clear that all current seniors are going to be reaping the benefits of a Medicare privatization, if there are any at all.
Ryan is correct that Medicare is headed for some trouble, so intervention needs to be had. However, he’s also made it very clear that any attempt to privatize Medicare will first necessitate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which he has blamed in the past for Medicare going bankrupt.
However, as reported by The Chicago Tribune:
“The Washington Post Fact Checker has concluded it is misleading to say that Medicare would go bankrupt and flat-out incorrect to blame Obamacare, which has extended the solvency of the key Medicare Part A trust fund by nine years.”
At the suggestion of Medicare privatization, Chuck Schumer, Democratic house minority leader, issued a biting rebuke to any Republican thinking of going down that road, and accusing them of a “war on seniors.”
“We say to our Republicans that want to privatize Medicare: Go try it. Make our day,” he said. “We’re going to fight tooth and nail any attempt to privatize, voucher-ize or any other-ize you can think of when it comes to Medicare. To Republicans considering going down this path, my advice is simple, turn back.”
Not all Republicans seem to be on board. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions has admitted that trying to do Medicare and repeal The Affordable Care Act at the same time would be, “biting off more than you can chew.”
Trump, for his part, has repeatedly said that he would not take away Medicare. His vacillation on this and many other subjects is prompting outrage from even his most ardent supporters.
Sounds like the big sell-out is coming. Oh well. The voters did what we could. If Trump sells out, it's not our fault. https://t.co/tdMpAuDaRI
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) December 2, 2016
It’s apparent that Republicans in Congress feel very differently. The only thing that’s clear at the moment is that Medicare is, for now, not on the agenda, but Schumer’s message to Ryan rings loud and clear: Back off.
Watch more about Ryan’s plans here:
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