Pawlenty: 'I Will Lead' on Medicare

Friday, 27 May 2011 09:07 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Presidential candidate and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he will be a leader on the Medicare issue. Although he said Friday that he admires House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan, he restated that he will release his own Medicare plan shortly.

Tim Pawlenty, Medicare, Obama, Ryan
Tim Pawlenty: “We are going to move Medicare from just paying for volume and procedures to paying for better performance and better results." (Getty Images Photo)
“First of all, President Obama should be leading on this issue — where is he?” Pawlenty said Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We’ve got a country that’s sinking in debt and deficit, we got the leader of our nation basically absent from the debate. He should step up and lead on this debate — where’s his Medicare plan?

“Secondly, I’ll have my own plan — it’s going to be announced relatively soon — and it’s going to have some differences from the Ryan plan,” Pawlenty said. “That’s the one I’ll propose, that’s the one I’ll work towards, and that’s the one I’d like to sign as president.”

Pawlenty had said in a Newsmax interview this week that he will offer a variety of Medicare choices.

Pawlenty said on “Morning Joe” that if, as president, his choices were something like Obama’s plan — “which is nothing” — and Ryan’s proposal, he would sign the House Budget Committee chairman’s plan.

The presidential candidate was asked for a preview of his plan.

“We are going to move Medicare from just paying for volume and procedures to paying for better performance and better results,” Pawlenty said. “We are not just going to have two choices, which is either you go buy it yourself or you stay in the current system — we’ll allow people to stay in the current system if they want, but we are going to offer a variety of choices that will be priced differently, and they can choose for what’s best for them and their family.”

Pawlenty said he is “going to lead on the issue.”

“I’ve been traveling the country under this ‘It’s Time to Tell the Truth’ banner. I went to Iowa and said it’s time to phase out the ethanol subsidies. I went to Florida and talked about the need to reform Social Security. I’ve come to New York to talk about what we need to do to clean up Wall Street,” he said. “And we’ve got to fix Medicare as well, and President Obama is ducking the issue.

“So I decided I’m going to lead.”

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