House GOP budget plan would revamp Medicare
House Republicans will propose a 2012 federal budget Tuesday that includes an overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid and would aim to chop at least $4 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's broad overview of the plan, which he described Sunday, is the clearest picture yet of how the party plans to reduce government spending over the long term. It also telegraphs the central role the issue will play in the GOP's pitch to voters come 2012. The combination of changes to entitlement programs and spending cuts sketched out by the Wisconsin Republican amounts to a dramatically different approach to deficit and debt reduction. But it also puts the party in politically dangerous waters. Much entitlement spending—including Medicare—benefits the middle class, making dramatic changes controversial and politically risky. Still, experts note it is all but impossible to take a major bite out of the national debt without addressing the rising costs of the program, along with other entitlements benefits.
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