Heleni Smith – Budget Proposals
Republican Representative Paul Ryan, the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, is set to reveal his 2012 budget proposal this upcoming week. The proposal’s anticipated $4 trillion cuts on federal spending include dramatic changes to both Medicare and Medicaid. The Medicare changes would affect everyone bellow the age of 55 by converting the program into a premium support system. This means that by the time the aforementioned individuals reach the age of 65, Medicare will no longer exist in its current form. Participants would have to choose a private insurance coverage for which the government would pay the first $15,000 of premiums. Poorer or less healthy individuals would receive more money. Ryan claims that Medicare is unsustainable in its current form and that these changes are necessary. Opponents to Ryan’s proposal argue that health costs will rise at a higher rate than the proposed government subsidies, thus leaving many elderly with inadequate coverage. As far as Medicaid, Ryan is proposing that the program turn into a block grant program in order to rein in state spending.