House Speaker Paul Ryan proposed to privatize the current Medicare system, within the earliest days of the impending Trump administration.
As Members of Congress hastily hash out their opinions and post their announcements, TPM will track what they’re saying, charting whether candidates favor, oppose or release a foggy statement on the privatization and dismantling of Medicare.
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), chair of the House Budget Committee, said he expects Republicans to take on Medicare reforms “six to eight months” into the Trump administration.
The list will be updated as members of Congress release their opinions or figure out how they really feel about Ryan’s proposal.
This list would not be possible without help from the TPM Readers who contacted their representatives and senators in response to Josh’s original post about Ryan’s stance on Medicare.
YEP, PHASE THAT BABY OUT! (pro-Medicare Phase Out members of Congress)
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), whose office told a TPM Reader that the Congressman supports Ryan’s “A Better Way” plan and will not rule out initiatives to privatize Medicare.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), whose office told a TPM reader the Congresswoman fully supports Ryan’s “A Better Way” plan, including premium support in Medicare.
Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN)
Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) did not explicitly state that he will vote for Ryan’s Medicare proposal in a letter to a TPM reader (read here: Part 1, Part 2), but he outlined what he defined as advantages to the program and described himself as a supporter of Medicare based on his voting history.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), according to a TPM reader who called his office. He also sent a letter to another TPM reader, referencing a need for Medicare reform without taking a stance on Ryan’s agenda.
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), when pressed by a TPM reporter
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who wrote a TPM reader claiming that Republicans have not tried to privatize or cut Medicare and offering her support for Ryan’s A Better Way plan, while dodging that Ryan’s proposal includes premium support which includes vouchers that can be used to purchase private insurance for those entering the program after 2024.
Rep. French Hill (R-AR)
Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) did not explicitly say he will vote for Ryan’s proposal, but he praises the plan and compares it to the Medicare Advantage plan already in place.
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX)
Rep. John Katko (R-NY) emailed to a TPM reader, stating he intended to work toward reforming the system, rather than increasing funding for Medicare, including that reform should not impact those nearing retirement or already on Medicare.
Rep.-elect Roger Marshall (R-KS), when asked by the Kansas City Star
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)
Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) would not say whether he supports privatization explicitly, but he considers Medicare reform the “highest priority,” when asked by a TPM reporter.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) told a TPM reader he was for the privatization of Medicare, though he denied that it would phase out Medicare.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) explicitly stated that he will endorse a premium support system to address Medicare reforms in a letter to a TPM reader, without specifically referencing Ryan’s proposal. His stated support for premium support, or distributing vouchers with which Medicare users can purchase private insurance, comes in directly contrast to Rubio’s earlier statement to a TPM reporter, when he said he does not support privatization of the program.
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) made no attempt to hide his enthusiasm for both Affordable Care Act repeal and Medicare phaseout, ending his letter to a TPM reader with hopes that these initiatives are among Congress’ first in January (read the letter: Part 1, Part 2).
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) wrote a TPM reader that “It is imperative that we protect the benefits of those already at or nearing the age of retirement. Medicare needs to be reformed to ensure its sustainability for future generations.”
AGAINST PHASING OUT MEDICARE UNDER RYAN PLAN
(NOTE: many of these members have not issued a flat and categorical statement against ending Medicare and replacing it with vouchers for private insurance.)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), though she did not explicitly state she was against Ryan’s bill but the privatization and dismantling of Medicare.f
Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep.-elect Salud Carbajal (D-CA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she considers Ryan and Price’s plans to privatize Medicare to be problematic in an interview with the Portland Press Herald, though she does not explicitly state whether she would vote against a bill including premium support.
Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), according to a TPM reader who emailed his office
Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) sent an email statement to a TPM reader praising Medicare and Medicaid but saying “we must find bipartisan solutions for keeping these programs strong for all.”
Sen. Joe Donnelly updated his statement to a TPM reader, saying would oppose privatization and phaseout of Medicare.
Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) sent a letter to a TPM reader describing Medicare without taking an opinion on reform. His communication office later sent a clarification, stating he was strongly opposed to Ryan’s plan. Another TPM reader spoke with his office via phone and said that he unequivocally stands with Medicare.
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) opposes privatization of Medicare, his office told a TPM reader
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT)
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), according to a TPM reader who emailed his office
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
Sen. Angus King (I-ME), according to a story from the Portland Press Herald
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), according to a TPM reader who emailed his office
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), according to a TPM reader who called her office
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
WOBBLERS (Say They Oppose ‘Privatization’ But Not Ryan Plan):
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) emailed a TPM reader saying he would not support privatization of Medicare and that he wanted to protect the program, but suggested a need to reform it.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), who wrote a TPM reader saying she opposes privatization of Social Security specifically, or anything that would destabilize Medicare. However, she voted for the 2015 budget that included a Medicare phase-out.
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
THE SNOW JOB CAUCUS (Word Salad to Avoid Giving a Position)
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) responded to a TPM reader stating the need for Medicare reforms but instead diverted focus to two different bills rather than addressing whether he supported Ryan’s proposal.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) stated in an email to a TPM reader that he would oppose changes to Medicare for current enrollees, but quickly diverted his attention to the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) replied to a TPM reader with a nonanswer, stating that Medicare faced “significant financial challenges” but a major overhaul of the program would have to be “fully examined.”
Rep. Mike Bishop’s (R-MI) office first told one TPM reader that he did not have a position but Ryan’s proposal “sounded like something he would vote for.” He then sent another reader a letter saying he planned to protect Medicare for those who have already contributed to the plan, but hinted at the need for reform.
Rep. Doug Collins, (R-GA) would not explicitly say that he would vote in favor of Ryan’s proposal in an email to a TPM reader, but he spent several paragraphs outlining the benefits of premium support and comparing it to the Medicare Advantage program.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) responded to a TPM reader stating he finds Medicare important, but suggesting the need for budget cuts, without really giving any suggestion how he hopes to resolve the issue.
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) did not respond to a TPM reader’s question as to whether he supported Ryan’s proposal to phase out Medicare, but he did state that it was crucial to reform Medicare to reduce costs.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) wrote a TPM reader stating that he intended to protect seniors’ access to Medicare and Social Security without addressing Ryan’s proposal. His staff told another TPM reader that he is a “strong supporter” of Medicare but believes the program’s costs should be reduced.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) wrote a TPM reader (Part 1, Part 2) stating that he wanted to protect Medicare and Social Security, while failing to address whether he would support Ryan’s proposal for Medicare.
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) expressed a strong desire for Medicare reform to cut costs, but he would not say whether he supported Ryan’s proposal for reforms.
Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ (R-KS) spokesman told a Kansas City Star reporter that the Congresswoman is devoted to making sure Medicare is “protected and strengthened” but did not address Ryan’s plans for privatizing the program when asked.
Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) acknowledged that Ryan proposed plans to reform Medicare in a letter to a TPM reader, but he never managed to take a side, stating that “at this time I have not seen any legislation from Speaker Ryan or President-elect Trump that privatizes Medicare.”
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) wrote extensively about Medicare’s financial issues in a letter to a TPM reader, but would not take a side on Ryan’s proposal to privatize and phase out the program.
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) wrote a TPM reader saying he did not want to see changes to Medicare for those at or nearing retirement age, then deflected attention to an act he has introduced to modify the Medicare Advantage plan.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wrote a TPM reader outlining a need for Medicare reform to address deficits in the program, but he took no stance on Ryan’s proposals.
Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) spouted the need for a bipartisan approach to funding Medicare in a letter to a TPM reader.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) sent a response letter basically saying she thinks Medicare is important and will work across party lines to keep the program going long-term.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) took the opportunity to push the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act she sponsored in the first session, generically stating that she would protect the benefits of Medicare recipients and providers in Alaska without mentioning Ryan’s recent announcement. When asked by a TPM reporter, a staff member for the Murkowski said she would not commenting on proposals at this time.
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) addressed a need for financial reform to Medicare, stating he would not want to see the plan change for current seniors. However, he did not take a side on whether he supported Ryan’s proposal for the program, instead deflecting to legislature he supported that would allow Medicare to recognize Radiology Assistance programs.
Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) wrote a TPM reader saying he would not change Medicare and Social Security for people who are retired or nearing retirement. He then brought up a bill he proposed that would increase the cost of living adjustment seniors and veterans receive for 2016.
Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) legal correspondent sent a letter to a TPM reader signaling the need for Medicare reforms but providing no other information other than that such reforms should be “rigorously examined.”
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) took no position on Ryan’s proposal, nor mentioned it at all, in a letter to a TPM reader, but he did emphasize a need to reform Medicare.
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said he supported “active management” of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. “I think we should have specific committees responsible for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” he told a TPM reporter.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) replied to a TPM reader with a generic letter stating that Medicare and Social Security are programs he plans to address in office.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) would not explicitly endorse Ryan’s proposal in a letter to a TPM reader, but he stated several times he supports efforts to reform Medicare, indicating he would vote in favor of a bill that made it to the Senate floor.
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) did not state an opinion on Ryan’s proposal in his correspondence to a TPM reader, but he noted the need for cutting costs to the program.
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) wrote a TPM reader saying she believed in “protecting and preserving” Medicare and Medicaid, but she did not indicate any position beyond that.
Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) did not explicitly state her opinions on Ryan’s Medicare proposals in a letter to a TPM reader, though she indicated that she supported the House’s previous attempts to reform Medicare, and she voted in favor of the 2015 House Budget including premium support.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) wrote that he believes Medicare requires reform to remain financially viable in a letter to a TPM reader, but he does not state whether he believes Ryan’s proposal to solve financial issues nor does he suggest any other solutions.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) wrote a TPM reader stating he thinks Medicare requires changes without taking a stance on Ryan’s proposal, instead deferring to his support of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. The congressman voted in favor of Ryan’s budget proposal in 2015. Another TPM reader called Wenstrup’s office, and a staff member said the congressman would like a privatized option in addition to Medicare, which the staffer asserts would “remain unchanged.”
Rep. Kevin Yoder’s (R-KS) spokesman said the Congressman supports “efforts to reform Medicare” but did not address Ryan’s proposal, according to reports from the Kansas City Star.
Rep. David Young (R-IA) did not reveal his opinions on Ryan’s proposal, but wrote a TPM reader saying that Congress would work to find a bipartisan solution, without elaborating what that may be.
Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) told a TPM reader that there was no plan to phase out Medicare, therefore he does not support a plan to phase out Medicare. When his office was contacted via email by a TPM reporter, Communications Director Heather Swift responded: “Despite erroneous reports and completely fictitious quotes made by your ‘news’ organization, Congressman Zinke does not support ending Medicare and has no intention of gutting the program.”
“We’ll Get Back To You:”
Dozens of TPM readers attempted to contact their representatives and senators in response to Josh’s recent post on the threats of a Medicare phase-out. A surprising number of congressional offices appeared unaware of the proposal or appeared to have no prepared response to Ryan’s Medicare agenda. Listed below are the Congress members whose offices were caught unaware, or claimed they would pass on constituents’ concerns, aggregated from TPM reader email submissions:
Rep. Ralph Anderson (R-LA)
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Rep. Bob Brady (D-PA)
Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN)
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (R-NC)
Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE)
Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)
Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY)
Senator-elect Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Rep. John Faso (R-NY)
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA)
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL)
Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY)
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT)
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA)
Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA)
Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA)
Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA)
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA)
Rep. Mia Love (R-UT)
Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA)
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA)
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)
Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI)
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ)
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA)
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), though he authored the budget proposing a Medicare phaseout in 2015
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL)
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), when asked by a TPM reporter
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)
Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Rep. Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA)
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO)
Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH)
Rep. Filemon Vela (R-TX)
Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX)
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
Rep. Robert Woodall (R-GA)
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY)
TPM Reporter Lauren Fox and Editorial Fellow Annie Rees contributed to this story.