Ryan on Medicare: ‘We want this debate’

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said Wednesday that he’s more than ready to defend his controversial Medicare plan.

Democrats have made Ryan’s Medicare proposal a cornerstone of their attacks on Ryan and presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Obama criticized the plan earlier in the day, saying it would “end Medicare as we know it.”

Ryan, in a speech at Miami University in Ohio, said Republicans won’t back down.

“The president, I’m told, is talking about Medicare today. We want this debate,” Ryan said. “We need this debate. And we will win this debate.”

{mosads}Ryan avoided the specifics of Romney’s plan, focusing instead on cuts that Obama’s healthcare law makes to Medicare. The law cuts payments to insurance companies and healthcare providers, such as hospitals, to the tune of $716 billion over a decade.

“He raided it to pay for ObamaCare,” Ryan said of Medicare.

Ryan’s budget proposals for the past two years would have kept the $716 billion in Medicare cuts while repealing the rest of the Affordable Care Act. Romney, however, has broken with his running mate and said he would repeal the entire law, including the Medicare savings.

Ryan said Obama is threatened by a debate over Medicare and has thus resorted to a campaign of “anger and division.”

Romney and Ryan want to partially privatize the Medicare program. Under their plan, seniors would choose between the existing single-payer system or a subsidy to help buy private insurance.

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