Obama sticks with charge that Ryan plan would ‘end Medicare’

President Obama made clear Tuesday that he’s not about to soften his criticism of Republicans’ Medicare proposals, charging again that the GOP plan would “end Medicare as we know it.”

Obama also referred to the GOP’s Medicare proposal as a “voucher” system — another characterization that Republicans insist is inaccurate.

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The plan, crafted by Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term MORE (R-Wis.), would convert some federal Medicare funding into subsidies for private insurance. Seniors would choose between the traditional program and subsidized private coverage.

Ryan worked with Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Senate confirms No. 2 spot at HHS, days after Price resigns Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax CEO faces outraged lawmakers | Dem presses voting machine makers on cyber defense | Yahoo says 3 billion accounts affected by 2013 breach MORE (D-Ore.) on the proposal, but that has not helped garner bipartisan support or prompted Democratic campaigns to scale back their attacks on the Ryan plan.

“It’s a bad idea,” Obama said of the Ryan plan during a speech about the budget Tuesday.

He said Ryan’s proposal would shift costs to seniors and that its subsidies would not keep pace with rising healthcare costs.

Obama warned of “cherry-picking,” saying private plans would peel off the healthiest seniors, making traditional Medicare more expensive and less competitive.

“The net result is that our country will end up spending more on healthcare” but seniors would “bear more of the costs themselves,” Obama said.

The president also knocked Republicans for their opposition to the individual mandate in his healthcare law. The provision requires almost everyone to either buy insurance or pay a fine.

There’s “a little bit of confusion” among the Republican presidential field about the mandate, Obama said.

GOP front-runner Mitt Romney signed a mandate into law as Massachusetts governor, and many conservatives supported a mandate in the past.

“It originated as a conservative idea,” Obama said.