Medicare

Medicare chief defends program as ‘viable’

The House is scheduled to vote Friday on Ryan’s budget plan, which would transform Medicare into a voucher-like program for individuals 55 and younger. Democrats have pounced on the Ryan plan, which provides federal assistance to seniors to purchase private coverage, and a White House official this weekend said the president wouldn’t sign on to it.

While Democrats have been on the attack over the past week, President Obama on Wednesday will outline his own vision for long-term deficit reduction that includes reforms to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Berwick told reporters he hasn’t seen the White House plan, but he hopes it will build on healthcare reform’s efforts to improve healthcare delivery.

“It’s a test of political will whether we’re going to focus on improvement as the way to help patients at the same time as getting a sustainable healthcare system,” Berwick said.

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