House Speaker Paul Ryan signaled on Nov. 10 that Medicare, a government safety net health care program, will be privatized (video below).
Ryan was asked about the upcoming changes under President-elect Donald Trump by Fox News host Bret Baier, and said:
Obamacare rewrote Medicare and rewrote Medicaid. If you’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare, you have to address those issues as well. So what a lot of folks don't realize is this 21-person board called the IPAB is about to kick in with price controls on Medicare.
What people don't realize is because of Obamacare, Medicare is going broke. Medicare is going to have price controls. Because of Obamacare, Medicaid is in fiscal straights.
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. So those things are part of our plan to replace Obamacare.
New York Magazine notes:
This is false. In fact, it’s the complete opposite of the truth. The Medicare trust fund has been extended 11 years as a result of the passage of Obamacare, whose cost reforms have helped bring health care inflation to historic lows. It is also untrue that repealing Obamacare requires changing traditional Medicare.
Ryan is brazenly lying. The budgetary reality, whether Republicans like it or not, is that [Obamacare] improved Medicare’s financial stability, extending the system’s solvency by more than a decade ... Now, however, the Wisconsin congressman seems to think he can use [repealing Obamacare] as an excuse to do what he’s wanted to do anyway for nearly a decade [to Medicare].
According to MSNBC, Ryan has long pushed for phasing Medicare out and replacing the program with vouchers (like coupons) that people would use to buy coverage from private health insurers, who could set any premium price they want.
Medicare normally covers people who are aged 65 and older, younger people with disabilities, and those who have certain terminally ill conditions.
Medicare was originally the brainchild of President John F. Kennedy, but he was assassinated before it could be passed, which happened in 1965; ever since then, Republicans have long opposed Medicare.
In 1961, Ronald Reagan warned of the dangers of Medicare, noted The Intercept: "From [Medicare] it’s a short step to all the rest of socialism, to determining his pay and pretty soon your son won’t decide when he’s in school where he will go or what he will do for a living."