WASHINGTON – While delivering a speech in the capital yesterday, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty side-stepped questions about whether or not he would support Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Medicare plan.
“I think in general, the direction of it is positive, but I’m going to have my own plan, and so we’re going to have some differences from his plan,” Pawlenty said.
Today, while campaigning in New Hampshire, Pawlenty changed course and said he would endorse the plan, which passed the House of Representatives with near-unanimous Republican support.
The Ryan plan would effectively privatize Medicare by transforming it from a single-payer health insurance system into one that gives seniors vouchers to purchase private medical insurance. The plan would raise the eligibility age for Medicare to 67 and would not impact anyone now 55 or older.
Democrats responded gleefully to Pawlenty’s embrace of the Ryan plan. In a press release, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Pawlenty’s support for the plan shows that he “can’t stand up to the far-right of his party” and “ignore[s] the wishes of the American people.”