By Mike Lillis - 05/18/11 08:51 PM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will appear in Wisconsin Thursday to highlight the Medicare cuts recently passed by House Republicans.
The location is no accident.
Not only was Wisconsin the site of the recent standoff between state workers and the new GOP governor over government benefits, but the GOP Medicare cuts were the handiwork of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (R), who chairs the House Budget Committee.
Under Ryan's proposal, Medicare would remain largely unchanged for current beneficiaries and those now older than 55. For those now younger than 55, the bill would turn Medicare into a voucher-style system requiring seniors to buy their insurance from private companies. The Ryan plan also gradually increases Medicare's eligibility age, from 65 to 67, beginning in 2022.
Supporters, including most House Republicans, say the plan takes necessary, if unpopular, steps to shore up Medicare's finances in the face of soaring healthcare costs. But critics, including most Democrats, say it erodes a decades-old safety net at the expense of seniors.
The House passed the Ryan budget on April 15. Four Republicans joined every Democrat in opposing the measure.
Pelosi will appear with Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) at a senior center in Waunakee.