Pelosi to GOP: ‘Hands Off Our Medicare’

By Nicholas Ballasy | April 15, 2011 | 6:02 PM EDT

Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

( - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a message to House Republicans about their proposed 2012 budget that would reform entitlement spending, stating on Friday: “Hands off our Medicare.”

At a press conference with Democratic leaders outside the U.S. Capitol building, Pelosi said, “This budget, we’ve always said we will judge every initiative that comes before us as to whether it creates jobs, as it reduces the deficit, strengthens the middle class and continues the economic growth of our economy. This budget does none of the above as it ends Medicare. Hands off our Medicare! Hands off our Medicare!”

When the health care bill was being considered by Congress in 2009, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged to squeeze waste out of Medicare to pay for the legislation.

“At least half the bill, no, half the bill will be paid for by squeezing excesses out of the system, and there is $500 billion to do that, and we’re looking for more that can be achieved,” she told on Sept. 10, 2009 during a press conference.

Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed budget, The Path to Prosperity, which passed the House on Friday, outlines a plan to reform, not end, Medicare. It states: "A flaw in Medicare’s structure is driving up health-care costs, which are, in turn, threatening to bankrupt the system – and ultimately the nation. This budget saves Medicare by fixing this flawed structure so that the program will be there for future generations." "These changes will not affect those in and near retirement in any way. When younger workers become eligible for Medicare, they will be able to choose from a list of guaranteed coverage options, enjoying the same kind of choices in their plans that members of Congress enjoy today. Medicare would then provide a payment to subsidize the cost of the plan. In addition, Medicare will provide increased assistance for lower-income beneficiaries and those with greater health risks. Reform that empowers individuals — with a strengthened safety net for the poor and the sick — will guarantee that Medicare can fulfill the promise of health security for America’s seniors."