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Opinion

Republican Plan for Medicare

House leader wants reforms for future generations

There is a better way. Our plan, the House-passed "Path to Prosperity" budget, would keep the current Medicare system in place for anyone over age 54. That bears repeating: Our budget includes no Medicare changes for anyone currently age 55 and up — ever.

For younger folks, we transition to a system called "premium support." It will operate much like the current Medicare prescription drug benefit. It is still Medicare, and the government will still pay for health care, but future beneficiaries will have the ability to choose the health care plan that is right for them. Each plan will be required to meet the same standard value of benefits that members of Congress and other federal employees receive, and beneficiaries will still deal directly with Medicare.

For those with a lower income, the premium support provided by the government is higher under our plan. The same goes for patients who are ill. As for the very wealthy, well, they will pay a higher share of the premium.

So that is the choice we face. The status quo means bankruptcy and steep benefit cuts. Washington Democrats' alternative is government rationing. Our plan would protect current seniors and those 55 and older, while reforming the system so it will be there for future generations. Your children and grandchildren are counting on you to make the right choice for them.

Also of interest: A boomer's guide to Medicare. >>

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