Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, unveiled a long-term budget proposal yesterday that expands GOP priorities:
Overall: Proposes to spend about $40 trillion over the next decade, $6.2 trillion less than the budget President Obama put out in February. Annual deficits, while not eliminated, would dwindle from about $1 trillion next fiscal year to under $400 billion by the decade’s end.
Medicare: Wipes out funding for Obama’s health care initiative and changes the status of Medicare as an open-ended entitlement. People now 54 and younger would upon retirement get a fixed amount from the federal government to buy insurance from a range of regulated private plans. The payment would go directly to the health insurance plan. Starting in 2022, the eligibility age for Medicare, now 65, would be gradually increased until it reaches 67 in 2033. Seniors already on Medicare and people within 10 years of retirement would be able to go into the traditional program as it exists today.
Medicaid: Essentially turns over the program, which covers about 50 million low-income and severely disabled people, to the states. Washington would send each state a lump sum to cover services from prenatal care for low-income women to nursing homes for Alzheimer’s patients. The block grant would allow each state to design its Medicaid program according to local needs.
Federal workers: Freezes pay for most workers through 2015 and requires that they pay more toward their retirement benefits.
Social Security: Seeks no defined changes for the single largest federal program. But Republicans say they would enact legislation to force Obama to propose changes to “restore balance to the fund.’’
Taxes: Lowers the top rate for individuals and corporations from 35 percent to 25 percent, while eliminating an array of unidentified loopholes and deductions.
SOURCE: Associated Press, Washington Post