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Pawlenty Says He Would Back Paul Ryan's Medicare Plan

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presidential candidate and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty says that while he plans to introduce his own budget plan in the coming weeks, if he were president today and it came to his desk, he would support Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal to overhaul the Medicare system.

“Let me start by saying my campaign is based around the notion that it's time for the truth, so as to Medicare, everybody knows it's sinking. It's going broke,” Pawlenty told Christiane Amanpour, anchor of ABC’s This Week. “So we have to fix it.”

“I'll have my own plan. It will have some differences” from the Ryan proposal, Pawlenty added, saying his budget plan will address Social Security reform, which Ryan’s does not. “But if the only choice is we're doing nothing, like President Obama is doing and Paul Ryan's plan, I'd sign it,” he said.

Pawlenty had sidestepped a firm answer on whether he would support the Ryan budget for much of his first week on the campaign trail, before making similar comments in support of Ryan's plan in New Hampshire on Thursday.

He said his Medicare plan will allow individuals to choose to stay in the current Medicare system, while offering “a series of other choices so they can pick what's best for them and their families and then they'll have the opportunity to be in the driver's seat.”

Pawlenty also hopes to alter the way providers are paid, moving to “a performance pay system, not just a volume pay system.”

On another major budget issue consuming Washington, Pawlenty said he does not support raising the debt ceiling without permanent structural reform to spending, while questioning “the false choice between default and rais[ing] the debt ceiling.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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