Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, unveiled his http://budget.house.gov/UploadedFiles/PathToProsperityFY2012.pdf" target="_blank">budget proposal for the 2012 fiscal year and it has received plenty of attention, mainly because of the proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid (read the http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/121xx/doc12128/04-05-Ryan_Letter.pdf" target="_blank">Congressional Budget Office assessment here).
In his proposed budget, Ryan calls for changes to Medicare. Beginning in 2022, newcomers to the Medicare system will be covered by a "premium-supported model" where Medicare subsidizes the cost of health insurance, allowing those qualifying for Medicare to select their coverage options, replacing the current system. According to the GOP budget document, the subsidy would be similar to the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Prior to 2022 (starting with FY 2012), anyone at or near retirement age will be covered by what would become the "old" Medicare system. (Anyone 55 and over.)
Regarding the entire budget, Representatives Ann Marie Buerkle and Richard Hanna, both Republicans, issued statements after the budget was released.
Neither expressed their support or opposition to Ryan's proposal, choosing instead to say that they would take a look and review the budget.
From Rep. Buerkle:
"Rep. Ryan's Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2012 is a serious and in-depth proposal that addresses the fiscal crisis facing this nation. Congressman Ryan and the Budget Committee have done a commendable job in proposing a course towards fiscal responsibility.
Government has a spending problem. President Obama demonstrated his unwillingness to lead by putting forth a budget that fails to address our future fiscal state and provides neither control nor restraint of current government spending.
This budget resolution proposes to recommit this Congress to a fiscally responsible course that will preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.
I look forward to reviewing the proposal in more detail and working to pass a fiscally sound 2012 budget."
Here is Rep. Hanna's statement:
"New Yorkers are long overdue a serious conversation about our nation's long-term fiscal future. The status quo course of taxing, borrowing and spending dooms our children and grandchildren to crushing debt, less economic opportunity and a lower standard of living. The status quo is not an option I support.
I intend to spend the next several days studying Chairman Ryan's proposal and other budgets offered by my colleagues. Any budget I support must put our country on a path to fiscal responsibility; it must reform and strengthen Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It must allow the United States to continue to be a society of opportunity.
I welcome and encourage all citizens of the 24th District to share their opinions and concerns with me during this necessary budget debate."
The aforementioned proposal to change Medicare drew the most attention, including that of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement following the release of the budget proposal asking where Buerkle and Hanna (along with other New York GOP representatives) would stand on the Medicare changes.
Here is one of the statements directed at Hanna:
"Representative Richard Hanna has a choice to make: support the Republican budget that ends Medicare and gives seniors a coupon for their health care, resulting in higher health care costs, or stand with 2,964,318 New York seniors and vote against the Republican budget," Ferguson said. "Representative Richard Hanna should repeal giveaways to the oil companies and tax breaks for the ultra wealthy before forcing seniors to clip coupons if they need to see a doctor. Seniors who are paying a lifetime into Medicare deserve to count on the system they have earned."
But the Republican leader of the House praised Ryan and GOP members of the Budget committee.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized the Obama administration's budget proposal, while saying the House GOP proposal will help the economy and lead to job creation.
"Chairman Ryan and the members of the Budget Committee have done an excellent job putting together a budget worthy of the American people," Boehner said in a statement. "I hope every American concerned about our country's future will take a look at it."
While the budget will be an issue, right now leaders are scrambling to avoid a government shutdown. This budget will be debated and discussed many a time, but right now, everyone is focused on the current fiscal year.