After House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters at a press conference Thursday that Democrats were using “Medi-scare tactics” to slow down Medicare privatization, incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) fired back.
“We are taking Republicans at their own word: Speaker Ryan has pushed to privatize Medicare for years and the President-elect has nominated a champion of that effort to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services,” Schumer said in a released statement. “The people who are genuinely and rightly scared are millions of American seniors who don’t believe privatization of Medicare will be in their interest.”
During his presser, Ryan said “what’s happening is you’re getting the latest wave of Democratic talking points to try to play Medi-scare politics, which is what they typically do every other Tuesday.”
In the Senate, Republicans have been trying to downplay Ryan’s interest in pushing forward a plan he calls “premium support,” which privatizes Medicare and fundamentally changes the program. The plan is controversial and has been a bridge too far for some Republicans even as they say some changes need to be made to the program to improve its long-term financial stability. Some have even been arguing that Republicans simply aren’t talking about it.
“Nobody is talking about that beside Senator Schumer. So I don’t expect — I haven’t heard anyone propose that on our side. Its a pretty good boogeyman for them to point at and scare people,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters earlier this week.
Ryan has been pretty vocal about his plans, however. On Thursday he once again argued the program needed to be overhauled.