Sensenbrenner Backs Away From Paul Ryan’s Medicare Privatization Plan

Via Ryan Grim, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) backed away from Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare during a town hall on Sunday after a 54-year-old constituent expressed concern about losing his guaranteed Medicare benefits:

At age 54, Menomonee Falls resident Paul Race said he just misses the cutoff in U.S. Paul Ryan’s proposal to reform Medicare for those younger than 55.

“If it’s good enough for the people 54 and younger… then I think it’s good enough for people 55 and older,” said Race, a former Marine who has been a teacher for 25 years.

He said under Ryan’s plan he would have to “go shopping to insurance companies” whose administrative costs will be higher than under Medicare and who may be unwilling to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

He predicted he will have to spend a greater share of his retirement funds on health care than will those 55 and older.

Sensenbrenner said, “I’m not here to say he’s (Ryan) right or he’s wrong, but at least he’s got a plan.

Sensenbrenner voted for Ryan’s budget in April and even issued a press release commanding Ryan’s leadership on the issue. “This vote starts an honest debate about getting our spending under control and taking real steps to make that happen through cutting trillions of dollars, reforming the tax code and welfare system, and eliminating wasteful spending. At the same time, it preserves and strengthens the health and retirement programs for those who are currently 55 and older and future retirees,” he said at the time. Now, he is not so sure that it does.