Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president, has provoked consternation from Democrats and anxiety among some congressional Republicans with his proposals to reshape Medicare.
Mitt Romney introduces Paul Ryan as his choice for running mate in Norfolk, Va., Saturday (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images).
The Republican-controlled House, along party lines, twice approved his proposals to overhaul the popular social insurance program for the elderly and disabled by giving beneficiaries a set amount of money every year to buy coverage from competing health plans. That is a fundamental shift from today’s program, where the federal government pays for as many services as beneficiaries use.
The proposals were never enacted because of opposition from the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Barack Obama.
This year, Democratic congressional candidates nationwide are making the protection of traditional Medicare a centerpiece of their campaigns, just as Republicans attacked them two years ago for curbing future Medicare spending as part of the 2010 health care law. Now, Democrats are hammering their GOP opponents for voting for Ryan’s proposals, which were included in the last two House budget resolutions.
Here is a guide to some of the issues and questions raised by Ryan's plan.
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