Watch CBSN Live

GOP Rep. Paul Ryan: "We're saving Medicare"


Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) told CBS News there's "a lot of misinformation about what we're proposing" in his budget plan, specifically on Medicare.

The House budget committee chairman was in his home state Tuesday to attempt to drum up support for his plan among his constituents, holding multiple standing room only town halls. Ryan asked the mostly older crowds for a "civil debate."

"A lot of people don't realize how bad Medicare's financing in the future is going to be," Ryan told CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes in Wisconsin. "We're saving Medicare for the elderly."

He plans to do so by tranforming Medicare for future generations into a plan that provided subsidies to pay for private insurance instead of the the current government-run health coverage.

Ryan described President Obama's budget proposal as "rationing" Medicare, countering that the program needed support and solutions, "not government."

"Put the power in the hands of the senior citizen, subsidize the wealthy less and the middle and lower income person more," Ryan said. His plan would make "no changes" to Medicare for people 55 and over.

"If we don't tackle this problem, it's going to tackle us," he added.

Ryan also tackled tax reform at his town hall meetings, telling constituents his proposal did not provide tax cuts for the wealthy, but is instead tax reform he calls "revenue neutral."

The "Paul Revere" of budget issues, as he referred to himself with Cordes, is hosting 19 town hall meetings in Wisconsin. He was greeted by both cheers and jeers Wednesday, even in areas he won re-election by over 70 percent.