Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is also the chairman of the House Budget Committee, has introduced the 2012 federal budget that will transform Medicare and Medicaid - the two programs that provide health for a significant portion of the population of the United States.
Ryan's plan "The Path to Prosperity" aims to slash $6 trillion from the budget over ten years. Under his Medicaid will be changed from a government-run insurance to a system of block grants distributed to states.
Medicare would essentially turn into system where the government would provide vouchers for health care. The funds would go directly to the insurer rather than the consumer. The government would give private health insurers a set amount of money. The change to Medicare would go into effect in 2022.
Although this is viewed a risky proposal Ryan and the GOP argued that the changes are necessary.
Ryan told CBS "This is a plan not only to pay off our debt over time, but to get the budget under control to keep the government going…The sooner we tackle the problems, the better off all of us are…We can't keep kicking the can down the road."
He also released a video online today focusing on the future of the nation's debt. He says these changes are necessary to keep the country going.
In the video he says "Washington has not been telling you the truth…If we don't reform spending on government health and retirement programs, we have zero hope of getting our spending and as a result our debt crisis under control."
Dean Baker, a liberal economist says the plan "does nothing to address our broken health care system while virtually guaranteeing that most seniors will not be able to afford decent health care."
Writing in the Wall Street Journal Ryan wrote that President Obama's efforts have only made things worse.
He wrote "Major spending increases have failed to deliver promised jobs," he wrote. "The safety net for the poor is coming apart at the seams. Government health and retirement programs are growing at unsustainable rates. The new health-care law is a fiscal train wreck. And a complex, inefficient tax code is holding back American families and businesses."
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