Republicans’ proposed overhaul of the Medicare system is a “dangerous political exercise,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says.
Gingrich, who is considering a 2012 presidential run, believes making changes to the Medicare system isn’t as politically risky as it was in the past but should still be handled with care, the New York Times reports.
“This is not something that Republicans can afford to handle lightly,” Gingrich said.
The House is expected to vote on Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wisc., budget proposal this week, which would move the Medicare system from a government-run entitlement program to a voucher system for the elderly. Republicans say changing the system now is the only way to ensure Medicare is available for future generations, but Gingrich sees the proposal as a chance for Democrats to attack.
Gingrich said Republicans need to be prepared to explain why the program needs to be changed and ready to apply pressure on the other side so “liberal Democrats can’t get a free ride for attacking change without offering their version of a solution.”
According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, more than half of Americans polled believed Medicare was doing well or needed only minor modifications. Among seniors, 66 percent said the program needed minor changes.