Remaking Medicare: Saving Money Or Shifting Costs?

There's no debating that the budget blueprint passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last month would make major changes to the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled.

What Republicans and Democrats don't agree on, however, is whether those changes would actually save money or just shift costs now paid by the government to Medicare patients.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who as chairman of the House Budget Committee wrote the plan that passed that chamber, says his plan would help bring down costs.

"We say, let 40 million seniors have choice, have power, and have those providers compete against each other for their business so they're in charge of their Medicare," he said during the House debate.

But Democrats — led by President Obama — say the GOP plan would merely let the government pay less by making Medicare patients pay more.

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05-04-2011 05:32 (EDT)