One day as a 16 year old, Ryan came upon the lifeless body of his father. Paul Ryan, Sr. had died of a heart attack at age 55, leaving the Janesville Craig High School 10th grader, his three older brothers and sisters and his mother alone. It was Paul who told the family of his father’s death.
With his father’s passing, young Paul collected Social Security benefits until age 18, which he put away for college. To make ends meet, Paul’s mother returned to school to study interior design. His siblings were off at college. Ryan remembers this difficult time bringing him and his mother closer.
Within months, Paul’s maternal grandmother moved into the house. She suffered from Alzheimer’s, and it often fell on young Paul to care for her, including brushing and braiding her hair. Ryan credits his father’s death and the care of his grandmother as giving him first-hand experience as to how social service programs work...
Ryan’s critics have been hammering at a provision of his Roadmap that would fundamentally alter Medicare by injecting market forces into the program. Ryan would provide individuals under the age of 55 with a voucher worth $11,000 per year when fully phased in. The voucher would then be indexed to inflation and be increased for those with lower incomes.
White House budget director Peter Orszag, while acknowledging Ryan’s plan would address the nation’s long-term fiscal problem, argues that health care costs will rise faster than the value of the voucher. Saying Ryan’s plan only saves money by “shifting a lot of the risk and expected cost onto individuals and their families,” Orszag believes too many policymakers—Republicans as well as Democrats--will find that solution objectionable.
Ryan calls this the most “fair and accurate” criticism of his plan, but says that it’s impossible to keep funding health care expenditures at the current rate of increase. He says the Obama plan deals with the problem by rationing care. “My plan gives individuals control to put market pressure on providers to compete,” he says.
20 April 2011
Paul Ryan and Medicare
Excerpts from a July 2010 article in Wisconsin Interest: