White House on Ryan's Medicare reforms: It is a 'voucher plan'

Hours after Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) asked President Obama to stop “demagoguing” his Medicare reforms by calling it a voucher plan, the White House declared it has no intention of backing off.

“What you call it doesn't change what it is and what it does,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. “It is a voucher plan.”

Carney said that the president's criticisms — he would not endorse or condemn the efforts of other Democrats to demonize the proposal — are not “a matter of demagoguery.”

“There is no question that on the issue of Medicare, there are significant differences,” Carney said.

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Carney said that regardless of what the technical details of the plan might be, the result is that Ryan's plan would “shift the cost burden” to the elderly, the poor and the middle class.

“That's just an inescapable fact,” Carney said. He added: “They may not get a voucher in the mail, but it is what it is.”

Carney joined House Republicans in calling the 75-minute meeting “productive” and “frank,” but he struggled to offer evidence that the two sides are getting any closer to an agreement over deficit reduction or raising the debt ceiling.

Carney did reject the call by some Republican members for Obama to release his own, scoreable plan that includes Medicare reform, saying that Obama has already released a “robust” plan.

“We do not need another proposal out there,” Carney said.

He added that the negotiations between Vice President Biden and a bipartisan group of lawmakers has gotten to the point of specifics, and a new plan from Obama would undo those efforts.

“I think slowing down the process is not in anybody's interest,” Carney said.

Carney did say that another meeting for the Biden group has been scheduled for June 9.