Omaha World-Herald/Associated Press, January 28, 2011
Months after they hammered Democrats for cutting Medicare, House Republicans are debating whether to relaunch their quest to privatize the health program for seniors. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-WI, is testing support for his idea to replace Medicare with a fixed payment to buy a private medical plan from a menu of coverage options. Party leaders will determine if the so-called voucher plan will be part of the budget Republicans put forward in the spring. Medicare was one of the most highly charged issues during last year's congressional elections, which put the House back in GOP control. Republicans slammed Democrats for cutting Medicare by about 6% over 10 years to finance President Barack Obama's health overhaul. But replacing Medicare's open-ended benefit with a fixed payment would cut projected spending much more deeply.