Republican Senator Suggests House GOP Budget Would Have Dismantled Medicare

February 10, 2012 3:13 pm ET — Jamison Foser

Lending support to critics of the budget that House Republicans voted for last year, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) suggests it would have dismantled Medicare:

Obviously, the original Ryan plan had some serious issues," she said. "I certainly believe in reforming the Medicare program in a way that would keep it intact. I have a very-high-percentage population that are seniors in Maine."

This isn't the first time Snowe has affirmed Democratic criticism of the GOP budget. When Snowe announced her decision to vote against the House GOP budget last year, she said the plan would privatize Medicare, adding that its handling of Medicaid would "encourage a race to the bottom":

Snowe said she doesn't like Ryan's plan to gradually turn Medicare into a system where beneficiaries buy their coverage from private health insurance plans, using a set payment that could mean their out-of-pocket costs increase. Snowe also said that while she agrees on providing states more flexibility with how to administer Medicaid, she does not agree that it is a good idea to turn it into a totally state-run block grant program.

"I am going to vote no on the budget because I have deep and abiding concerns about the approach on Medicare, which is essentially to privatize it," Snowe said, noting that Maine has a high percentage of elderly residents. [...]

[S]he opposes the Ryan proposal to block grant Medicaid because she is afraid that would result in many states around the country simply cutting needed services to save money, a "race to the bottom," Snowe said.

"The states are the great laboratories," Snowe said. "But we also have an overall obligation to serve specific populations under Medicaid. We don't want to encourage a race to the bottom."