House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) reiterated his desires to overhaul Medicare on a CNN town hall Thursday night, while acknowledging that he and President-elect Donald Trump — who promised during the campaign not to cut the benefits program — were not exactly on the same page on the issue.
“We’ve had a couple of conversations about it. Look, we don’t all agree on everything. It’s – I think people kind of know that,” Ryan said, when asked how he was going to change Trump’s mind on the issue.
It’s not just Trump. Senate Republicans have also been cool to the idea of embarking on a privatization of Medicare, with some saying that they would only be willing to do so with full buy-in by the President and Democrats. Dems, meanwhile, intend to make Medicare a flashpoint in the confirmation hearings for Rep. Tom (R-GA), Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary. Not long before he was named for the position, Price indicated he wanted to move on privatizing Medicare in the months to come.
On CNN, Ryan outlined in broad strokes his so-called “premium support” plan, which would give seniors a fixed amount to spend on private insurance plans, with the option to stay on Medicare. A major question is whether that system would prompt Medicare to wither, nonetheless.
“Medicare goes bankrupt in the next decade,” he said Thursday. In fact, the Medicare Trustees in 2014 pushed back their projections for when the fund would be exhausted to 2033. Its solvency had been extended, in part, by Obamacare, which Republicans plan to repeal.