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Tuesday
Jun142011

On Medicare, Senate Dems Say They Won’t Accept a 'Mini' Ryan Plan

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Democratic leadership came out Tuesday and reaffirmed that Medicare cuts should not be on the table during the debt ceiling discussions.

“Seniors can't afford it,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said following Tuesday’s policy luncheons. “The vast majority of the American people, including most Republicans, do not support changing Medicare as we know it, that piece of legislation that came from the House.”

“That” piece of legislation would be the Paul Ryan plan, “The Path to Prosperity,” which cuts the budget deficit by roughly $5 trillion over the next 10 years.

The Ryan plan completely overturns the new healthcare law and proposes a major reform to Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid would switch to a block grant system, meaning the federal government would allocate money to states, giving them more flexibility in how they tailor their programs for the poor. Currently, the federal government matches every dollar that states spend on Medicaid, and the formula varies from state to state.

On Tuesday, Senator Schumer, D-N.Y., said it is not acceptable to Democrats to even accept a “mini” Ryan plan.

“The Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it must be taken off the table, but Republicans should know that we will not support any mini version plan of ‘Ryan’ either,” Schumer said. “We want to make our position on Medicare perfectly clear.  No matter what we do in these debt-limit talks, we must preserve the program in its current form, and we will not allow cuts to seniors' benefits."

Schumer said that does not mean that Democrats do not want to do anything about Medicare -- he said they will continue to look for waste, fraud, duplication and inefficiency in the system to find savings.

On Tuesday, the Republicans, after their own policy luncheon, said that Democrats are using “scare-tactics and half truths” to try to “scare seniors” about Medicare “and use half-truths about our efforts as Republicans to give people more choices when it comes to Medicare and help strengthen and secure Medicare, not just for those currently on Medicare, but for future generations.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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