Outraged constituents have showed up at town hall events across the country to protest a Republican budget plan that would end Medicare as it exists today but Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) says it's all been a misunderstanding.
"The crowds are really getting bigger and people are getting much more anxious about where the country is headed," Ryan told ABC's Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Sunday.
"This is the sign of the times, I think. I think it's sign of anxiety of the times and sign of misinformation perpetrated out there."
"What do you mean, misinformation?" Amanpour asked.
"There are TV, radio and phone calls running, trying to scare seniors. The Democratic National Committee is running phone calls to seniors in my district, TV ads, saying we're hurting current seniors, which in fact that's not the case," Ryan explained.
But Democrats claim that the Republican plan authored by Ryan would force millions of seniors to pay an extra $2.2 billion next year alone.
And they say that for Americans under 55, the plan would effectively eliminate Medicare by replacing it with a voucher system. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that in ten years, the new Medicare system would cost each senior about $6,500 extra per year.
"Put these reforms in now, they don't take effect for ten years to give people time to prepare," Ryan told constituents at one town hall last week.
"If we keep kicking the can down the road and keep going trillions of dollars deeper in the hole, then the reforms will be sudden, urgent, severe and immediate, and then it will catch people by surprise."
Watch this video from ABC's This Week, broadcast May 1, 2011.