Most Democrats are slamming newly minted Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan over what they contend are budgets that reduce deficits by gutting vital entitlement programs like Medicare. The critics allege Ryan will end Medicare as we know it and leave senior citizens paying much higher out-of-pocket costs. But that’s just not true, according to Tennessee Rep. Diane Black, a member of the House Budget Committee which Ryan chairs. Rep. Black says the Ryan budget preserves Medicare rather than kill it as Democrats claim. She says Ryan does not propose anything near the hundreds of billions in cuts that President Obama has already started through his health plan. Instead, Black says Ryan sets up market-based competition that would allow seniors to eventually choose between the existing Medicare program or a private sector competitor.
On the flip side of the debate, Black says she cannot say for certain whether the Ryan plan actually reduces Medicare spending or simply reduces the pace that spending increases. She’s also not worried about Ryan’s votes in favor of TARP, auto bailouts and last year’s hike in the debt ceiling. Rep. Black says Ryan is committed to growing the economy by unleashing the free market and rolling back many of the big government initiatives enacted by the Obama administration.