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Newt Gingrich slams Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare

May 15, 2011|By Katherine Skiba
(NBC News )

Presidential contender Newt Gingrich took a potshot Sunday at Republican House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s proposal to reform Medicare, becoming the most prominent Republican to distance himself from the plan.

Ryan's proposal, which was passed by the GOP-controlled House in April, would have people 54 and younger choose from a list of coverage options and have Medicare make “premium-support payments” to the plan they chose.

“I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” Gingrich scoffed in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."

House Republicans, including Speaker John A. Boehner, have stood behind Ryan's plan, which was the subject of fierce debate at town-hall meetings nationwide. Other Republican presidential contenders have praised Ryan's political courage without going so far as to endorse the budget blueprint.

Gingrich later called the reform plan “too big a jump,” adding: “I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.”

He did, however, throw his support to Ryan’s plan to revamp Medicaid, which pays for healthcare for the poor, by giving block grants to the states to design their own programs.

Over the next decade, Gingrich said, that change could save the federal government $700 billion and save state governments $200 to $300 billion.

“That’s $1 trillion in less debt over the next decade,” he said.



kskiba@tribune.comVisit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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