Rep. Paul Ryan: Congress Needs ‘To Preserve and Shore Up’ Medicare

By Matthew Hrozencik | December 1, 2016 | 5:20pm EST
House Speaker Paul Ryan talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Dec. 1, 2016. (Screenshot)

( - Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Thursday that Congress needs to “preserve and shore up” Medicare for younger Americans because “it won’t be there for us if we stay on the current path.”

“We are going to have to do things to preserve and shore up this program,” Ryan told reporters during his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.

“Mind you that Obamacare itself does a lot of damage in our opinion to Medicare. Obamacare itself puts this new board of 15 bureaucrats – the IPAB [Independent Payment Advisory Board] – in charge of cutting Medicare in ways that would lead to deny[ing] care for seniors.

“Medicare itself is on a path to going bankrupt by 2028, I believe off the top of my head. So the trust fund is exhausted in the next decade. So we are going to have to do things to preserve and shore up this program,” Ryan said.

“The reforms we’ve been talking about here in the House by Republicans for many years are reforms that do not affect the benefits for anyone in or near retirement,” the House speaker added.

“But for those of us who are in the younger generation, the X generation on down, it won’t be there for us if we stay on the current path.  So we have to do things to fix this program so we can guarantee that it’s there intact for current seniors, but also that there’s something there for us when we retire.”

In response to a question from a reporter, Ryan said that he is still interested in making reforms to Medicare during the upcoming fiscal year, although he admitted he had not yet discussed Medicare reform with President-elect Donald Trump.

“As far as what our plans are with respect to reforming and preserving, that’s just something that we haven’t discussed yet with the administration and we’ll do so as the year goes on,” Ryan stated, adding that the reforms he’s envisioning are “nothing different than what federal employees have.

“You get to choose among plans that are comprehensive and guaranteed to meet your benefits, or if you want to stick with the current traditional program, you can do that as well. That is good reform,” Ryan explained.

“That’s what CBO [Congressional Budget Office] tells us is actually a good way of improving costs, lowering prices, and expanding choices.”

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