The White House has compared House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) new Medicare plan to Newt Gingrich’s old ideas.
The new plan from Ryan and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is “the wrong way to reform Medicare,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a news release.
Pfeiffer said the new plan “would end Medicare as we know it for millions of seniors.” He invoked Gingrich’s 1995 statement that Medicare would “wither on the vine” when faced with competition from private insurers.
“The Wyden-Ryan scheme could, over time, cause the traditional Medicare program to ‘wither on the vine’ because it would raise premiums, forcing many seniors to leave traditional Medicare and join private plans,” Pfeiffer said.
Gingrich memorably called Ryan’s Medicare plans in this year’s GOP budget “right-wing social engineering,” a statement for which the GOP presidential candidate was heavily criticized by Republicans. Gingrich fell in the polls, but has mounted an incredible comeback in the last month to gain front-runner status in the GOP contest.
Ryan and Wyden announced their proposal Thursday morning, casting it as a bold set of ideas to protect Medicare’s future. Their proposal would let seniors choose between traditional Medicare and a subsidy to help pay for private insurance. Wyden on Thursday described it as a win for Democrats, compared with Ryan’s earlier proposal, which would have ended the existing Medicare system.