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Paul Ryan in Chicago to Push Plan to Gut Medicare

By aaroncynic in News on May 17, 2011 6:00PM

Yesterday, GOP House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) spoke to the Economic Club of Chicago to talk up his plan to upend Medicare and Republican budget plans. Ryan defended the plan to overhaul Medicare, which would turn it from a fee for service program to one where government contributes to individual plans, saying that it would “empower” seniors to “deny business to inefficient providers.” The plan has been criticized by both Democrats, who believe the plan will essentially abolish Medicare, and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who called it “social engineering.” The Congressional Budget office analyzed the plan in April and found it could cost both beneficiaries and providers more in the long run.

Ryan also took a swipe at the president in his speech, calling President Obama’s plan to increase taxes for the wealthiest Americans was “class warfare” and that the president and other critics were “sowing social unrest and class envy.” He also suggested that higher taxes would not eliminate the deficit and said that “austerity will be the only course left.” Meanwhile outside, dozens of demonstrators rallied against Ryan.

While Ryan publicly speculated about running for Senate against retiring Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), the National Journal reported today that he may very well ultimately stay in the House. Talking about the decision yesterday, Ryan said “The way I look at this current decision is: Where could I be most effective in dealing with the current debt crisis we have today?” Should Ryan decide to stay where he’s at, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson is expected to run for Kohl’s seat.