GOP senator steps back from Ryan budget proposal

"I think the Ryan plan is good. It started the discussion. It's going to take a lot of discussion," Boozman told reporters at his Senate office in Little Rock, Ark. "We're not going to privatize Medicare. We're going to have some sort of hybrid that steps in, again, to preserve. Not to cut it, but to preserve it for future generations."

Democrats have characterized the Republican plan as "Medicare killing" and one that would destroy "Medicare as we know it." Republicans have countered they are trying to save Medicare, a popular entitlement program. The Medicare proposal became an issue in last week's special election in New York, where the Democrats won an upset victory in a GOP-leaning district.

It is expected to be a campaign issue next year.

"We've got real problems with [Medicare]," the freshman senator warned. "It's going to go broke if we don't do something significant and that's all this is about. It's trying to start the discussion as to how we, not cut the program, but save the program."