Liberal group attacks GOP budget for 'stealing' Medicare

The liberal group Americans United for Change released a television ad Wednesday that goes after Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) plan to drastically change the Medicare entitlement program.

The 30-second ad, titled "Hands off Medicare," is set to air this week nationally on MSNBC and other cable news stations in Washington, according to the group. It says Ryan's plan would transform Medicare, the government healthcare plan for senior citizens, into a voucher program to subsidize the purchase of private insurance.

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"Monday, word leaked of a plot to steal one of your most valuable assets — your Medicare," the voiceover says over images of a home break-in. "The thieves have been identified as insurance companies, desperate to get at the Medicare trust fund. They are abetted by Republicans whose budget replaces Medicare with a voucher to buy private insurance."

Democrats and their allies have attempted to make Ryan's plan a non-starter by labeling his reform proposal for Medicare as privatization. 

"Independent experts agree the House plan would make deep cuts to the Medicare benefits seniors count on. It would end Medicare as we know it and funnel Medicare dollars directly into private insurance companies’ pockets," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Tuesday. We can’t allow the House to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, and we won’t — not on my watch."

Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, has defended his Medicare proposal, saying it will keep Medicare solvent in the long run and drive down the federal government's healthcare costs, achieving $750 billion in savings over 10 years.

"No, I wouldn’t say that," he said on PBS's "NewsHour" on Tuesday when asked if his plan is a privatization program. "If that’s the definition of privatization, then Medicare is already privatized, because already Medicare works through private companies to deliver services to Medicare beneficiaries." 

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