Santorum: 'Get rid of' Medicare agency

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he not only supports privatizing Medicare, but wants to eliminate the agency that oversees the program.

Santorum said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday that private-sector competition should supplant the government's role in healthcare.

"You want the private sector out there competing, driving down costs, improving efficiency," Santorum said. "You want to get rid of this — of CMS [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services], where government basically micromanages all healthcare through Medicare and Medicaid."

The remarks came during an interview with CNN host John King, who asked Santorum about his support for Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) controversial plan to convert federal Medicare funding into subsidies that seniors would use to buy private insurance. Many policy experts have said the vouchers would probably not keep pace with the rising cost of healthcare, forcing seniors to spend more of their own money.

Santorum said that's no different from the premiums seniors already pay for some parts of Medicare, or the existing market for supplemental coverage known as Medigap.

"What this does, instead of buying your Medigap policy, you go out and buy a policy that may have things that your Medigap coverage has, but you have choices to take the kind of policies and the kind of choices as to the providers who you're going to use, whether you want a limited set of providers and, therefore, more benefits, whether you want a broader set of providers and fewer benefits," he said.