Republican Sen. Scott Brown said Monday he will vote against the House Republican budget because he cannot support U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's proposal to transform Medicare into a voucher system.
"While I applaud Ryan for getting the conversation started, I cannot support his specific plan — and therefore will vote "no" on his budget," Brown wrote in an op-ed piece in Politico.
The Massachusetts senator said in a statement last week that he supported the overall direction that Ryan's budget took toward reducing spending, but at the time declined to say whether he supported the Medicare overhaul or if he would vote for the budget. That statement came four days after Brown told a luncheon crowd in Georgetown that he would vote for the spending plan.
The GOP plan passed by the House would cut government deficits by $6.2 trillion over the next decade. One of its most contentious provisions calls for eventually transforming Medicare into a voucher-like system in which private insurance plans, not the government, pay medical bills.
Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, chairs the House Budget Committee.
In Monday's op-ed, Brown listed several objections to the Medicare proposal.
He said he was concerned that as health care expenses continue to grows, the cost of private insurance plans will rise faster than government premium support, forcing the elderly to pay even higher deductibles and co-pays.
"Protecting those who have been counting on the current system their entire adult lives should be the key principle of reform," Brown wrote.
Medicare has already been cut to help pay for President Barack Obama's health care plan, he said.
Congress should instead cut waste and fraud and make other improvements to the traditional Medicare system, Brown said. He also said savings could be found by increasing congressional oversight of Medicare reimbursements and through medical liability reform that would cut down on frivolous malpractice lawsuits.
"We can work inside of Medicare to make it more solvent," Brown wrote.
This program aired on May 23, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.