Durbin vows to dismiss ‘voices from the left’ in fiscal-cliff talks


The second-ranking Democratic senator said he wanted to preserve Medicare and Medicaid as programs, but that it was important to find a way to reduce increasing healthcare costs through entitlement reforms.

“When it comes to … Medicare and Medicaid, we’ve got to make certain that we preserve these basic programs — not to go the Paul Ryan route of voucher-izing, leaving seniors vulnerable for the health insurance they cannot find or cannot afford, but make sure we change the program to save the money, reduce the increase in healthcare costs,” he said.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the GOP vice presidential candidate this year, has proposed that seniors be given subsidies to buy insurance on the private market as an alternative to traditional Medicare.

Durbin said one option for reform was to require that wealthier people pay higher Medicare premiums, but was otherwise vague on what reforms he would consider. He said that “more competition” and rewarding “good practices” would bring the costs of healthcare down.