Collins, Orszag Criticize Ryan Plan; Santorum Rues Medicare Prescription Benefit Vote
As former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum contemplates a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, he expresses regret over his vote for the unfunded Medicare prescription drug bill. Sen. Collins says she'll oppose Ryan plan, while Peter Orszag says it would increase overall health care costs.
Fox News: Santorum Calls Own Vote In Favor Of Medicare Drug Benefit A 'Mistake'
Possible presidential candidate Rick Santorum conceded Sunday that he made a "mistake" in voting for the Medicare prescription drug benefit back in 2003, as he tried to bolster his fiscal credentials. Santorum, a former Republican Pennsylvania senator, told "Fox News Sunday" that there were two things wrong with the bill creating the program, which is now estimated to cost about $60 billion a year ... Santorum said Congress should not have made the program universal and should have found a mechanism with which to pay for it (4/24).
Politico: Santorum: I Made A Medicare 'Mistake'
"I voted for it for a lot of reasons. ... I think we should have paid for it, that was not an option on the table at the time I voted for it," Santorum said. "It was a 51-49 vote. In retrospect, it should have been a 51-49 vote the other way" (Thrush, 4/24).
The Hill: Collins Is First GOP Senator To Oppose Ryan Budget Proposal
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine.) said Friday that she will not support the 2012 budget passed by the House last week. "I don't happen to support Congressman Ryan's plan but at least he had the courage to put forth a plan to significantly reduce the debt," Collins said on "In the Arena" a program on WCSH 6, a local NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine. Collins is the first Republican senator to state publicly that she will not support the Ryan budget (Ryan, 4/22).
The Hill: Orszag: Ryan Plan Raises Healthcare Costs On The Backs Of Seniors
Former White House Budget Director Peter Orszag ripped into the GOP's Medicare reform proposal on Friday, saying it would not only shift costs to seniors but would raise national healthcare spending overall. "This plan, which is often being held out as reducing overall costs - at least as evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office - does not reduce overall costs on the backs of seniors: It raises overall costs on the backs of seniors," Orszag said during an appearance at the Brookings Institution (Pecquet, 4/22).
Politico: Orszag Slams Ryan Medicare Plan
Supporters of the Ryan plan have argued that competition from a new private market for subsidized insurance for seniors would drive down costs. But Orszag said the Congressional Budget Office analysis found that whatever cost savings might come from this competition would be more than offset by increased administrative costs of private insurance plans and the loss of Medicare's negotiating power to secure lower prices (Feder, 4/22).