Medicare would be transformed under Rep. Paul Ryan's 2012 budget released Tuesday. Future Medicare recipients would get fixed payments to purchase private insurance.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Right now Medicare is a fee-for-service program which itself pays for health care procedures for most beneficiaries. Under the GOP plan, drafted largely by Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, it would be changed into a program which subsidizes the purchase of health insurance by individuals.
Medicare’s spiraling costs make it the biggest driver of the nation’s long-term government debt, said Congressman Ryan Tuesday during an appearance at the American Enterprise Institute. That means the status quo for the program is unlikely to continue, he said.
“The question is not if we reform Medicare. The question is when and how we reform Medicare,” said Ryan.