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Paul Ryan: ‘We are hosed’ if we don’t tackle entitlements like Medicare

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 14: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks to reporters during news conference on February 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Speaker Ryan fielded questions on the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and the Repeal of the Affordable Care act. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump ran on a vow to not cut benefits for Medicare, but House Speaker Paul Ryan said he thinks that is still an “open question.”

“From all my conversations with the President, he says ‘I don’t want to change Medicare benefits for people in or near retirement,’ and we agree with that,” the Wisconsin Republican told reporters in his Capitol suite Tuesday morning.

That’s different from what the President has said publicly, and Trump’s promises not to slash benefits have been sweeping.

During the 2016 Republican primary campaign, for example, Trump boasted about his position, arguing GOP competitors were following him.

“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid,” he tweeted.

Ryan has long pushed for reforming Medicare to keep that system solvent, but he also argues strongly changing the big ticket entitlement is the only way to really rein in deficit spending.

“I’ve been a big time entitlement reformer for a long time because if you don’t start bending the curve in the out years, we are hosed,” Ryan said bluntly Tuesday morning.

In the short term, the one entitlement Republicans are planning on changing is Obamacare, the signature health care law from Trump’s predecessor. Coalescing around a GOP plan to do that continues to be a challenge.

Still, GOP congressional sources say they expect Trump to embrace concepts they have been outlining — ideas Ryan along with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, a former congressman, have been pushing for years: High risk pools to cover people with pre-existing conditions, along with tax credits and health savings accounts to help pay for coverage.

“He’s going to be very helpful,” Ryan said of what the President will say about health care in his address to Congress on Tuesday night.

“We talked about this at great length yesterday he’s going to be helpful,” Ryan said.

5 comments

  • Gordon Hilgers

    Wait a second here. What the frauds who claim they are conservatives (they’re really apologists for a special interest called capitalism in drag) call “entitlements” are not part of the federal budget. Rather, they are funds composed of the sum-total money taken from people’s paychecks and have nothing to do with federal spending.

    If Ryan doesn’t know that, what’s he doing as House Speaker in the first place?

    • Don Roberts

      Ryan damn well knows that these so-called entitlements do not affect the budget, he just thinks he can pull the wool over our eyes. He’s playing the conservative playbook. Then they want the high-risk pool for health insurance. What he is not saying is there will be a cap on health benefits too! When you reach the cap, you no longer will receive treatments, meds, etc. Just a one-way trip to the morgue for those less fortunate than the 1%.

  • Leon Field

    ENTITLEMENT???
    How about we get the same FREE medical care as Mr. Ryan??
    Mr. Ryan needs to go online an d watch a REAL PRESIDENT, RONALD REAGAN’s
    Speech on Social Security and Medicare..
    Paul Ryan and the Republican Party will be destroyed and become dormant like
    The Democrats if he goes after the one section of the population that is the largest
    voting block, and actually Knows and VOTES, ..those 60 and over.

  • mike

    I am so proud of the three posts here,as they can see through his little pipsqueak’s sick agenda,why do they spew the word “enitlements”,don’t we pay for these programs,see,this is why people voted for the party that wants to harm them.

  • Rosemary haney

    Wtrump promised us our Medicare would not be touched and our SS would be raised you seem to want to do everything you can do to ruin president trump

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