House Speaker Paul Ryan has his eyes on privatizing Medicare.
The Wisconsin Republican leader, who has long expressed his disapproval of the Affordable Care Act, will also be the leading voice in health-care reform.
“What people don’t realize is that Medicare is going broke, that Medicare is going to have price controls. Because of Obamacare, Medicaid is in fiscal straits,” Ryan said in an interview with Fox News Thursday. “So you have to deal with those issues if you’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare. Medicare has got some serious problems because of Obamacare. Those things are part of our plan to replace Obamacare.”
Ryan has advocated transforming Medicare from a federal program to a private model where seniors would rely on federal subsidies to buy private insurance.
President-elect Donald Trump, meanwhile, has been vague on his health plan.
“Abolishing Medicare, I don’t think you’ll get away with that one,” Trump said last year. “It’s actually a program that’s worked. It’s a program that some people love, actually.”
Trump's new transition website, however, describes a health policy agenda that potentially embraces Ryan's proposals. "Modernize Medicare, so that it will be ready for the challenges with the coming retirement of the Baby Boom generation — and beyond," the website reads.
Medicare's trustees say that the “Part A” trust fund — the costliest component of Medicare, covering hospital visits — is set to become insolvent in 2028. In 2009, before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the trustees projected that fund would go broke in 2017.