WASHINGTON – With House Republicans poised Friday to pass their long-term budget, Democrats continued to hammer away at the proposal that that drastically cuts spending while privatizing Medicare over ten years.
The proposal by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), titled "The Path To Prosperity," also reduces taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans while transforming Medicaid into a program of block grants for states.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) punched away.
"Spin can't change the fact that Republicans' plan reopens the doughnut hole, costing seniors more than $2 billion next year alone," Reid spokesman Jon Summers said Friday morning. "No matter what they say, the fact is the GOP wants to finance their tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires by hiking prescription drug prices for seniors."
The plan would allow Americans currently 55 and older to remain on Medicare as it exists, but everybody younger than that would be given vouchers to buy private insurance whose value is capped at $15,000.
"Our budget offers a compassionate and optimistic contrast to a future of health-care rationing and unbearably high taxes," Ryan wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday. "We lift the crushing burden of debt, repair the safety net, make America's tax system fair and competitive, and ensure that our health and retirement programs have a strong and lasting future."
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the GOP proposal would increase health care costs for seniors by 2030, making them pay an average of 68 percent of their income on medical expenses, up from 25 percent under current law.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dubbed it the "Road to Ruin" budget in a press conference with Democratic leaders Friday morning before the vote.
The proposal is expected to pass the House, but is poised to be a nonstarter in the Senate. It's also likely to become a key campaign issue for 2012 as President Barack Obama slammed the plan Wednesday and offered one of his own.
"No amount of taxes can keep pace with the amount of money government is projected to spend on health care in the coming years," Ryan wrote in the Post. "Medicare and Medicaid are growing twice as fast as the economy — and taxes cannot rise that fast without a devastating impact on jobs and growth."