A group of Senate Democrats on Monday called on Vice President Biden to say that the Medicare plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan is off the table in talks to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
The letter to Biden and a teleconference Democrats will hold Monday is the party’s latest effort to highlight the proposal by Ryan (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Ryan’s proposal, included in the House GOP budget approved by the House, would change Medicare into a type of voucher system for recipients under 55 years old.
“As you know, the House-passed budget would end Medicare as we know it by destroying the guaranteed-benefit system and instead requiring seniors to enter the private insurance market,” the letter reads.
“This proposal would never pass Congress on its own, and it does not belong in a larger deal either. It would be devastating for America’s seniors, who would see their out-of-pocket costs for health care double and the benefits they currently enjoy jeopardized. Under this risky proposal, insurance company bureaucrats would decide what seniors get.”
Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.) Ben Cardin (Md.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) sent the letter on Friday to Biden, who is leading talks to raise the debt ceiling. Biden and lawmakers are negotiating over how to reduce the deficit in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
Additionally, McCaskill is a co-sponsor of the Cap Act in the Senate which would cap all spending including on entitlement at 20.6 percent of gross domestic product.
Democrats have hammered the GOP over Ryan’s proposal, and attribute Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul’s win two weeks ago in a special election to aggressive campaigning against Republicans on the plan.
Republicans who support Ryan’s plan argue that without changes Medicare will become insolvent.
The group of legislators lead by Biden hopes to come to a compromise on a deficit reduction plan ahead of August 2nd when the U.S. will reach its borrowing limit, according to the Treasury Department.
The senators' conference call and their letter's release came the same day that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a new video hitting a number of Republicans on supporting the Ryan plan.
Read the letter below: