Toomey offers budget plan preserving Medicare

    U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey wants to balance the nation’s budget within nine years through a plan he announced Tuesday. Toomey, who represents Pennsylvania, has proposed leaving Medicare and Social Security untouched while converting Medicaid–the health-care program for the poor–into block grants for states.

    The proposal is an alternative to the plan, advanced by Congressman Paul Ryan, which many voters oppose because it seeks to privatize Medicare–the health-care program for seniors.

    Toomey says his plan is a more short-term fix.

    “It’s my view that a permanent solution to the fiscal challenges that we face will require broader reforms than what we have in this budget. Ultimately, we need to reform the Social Security program, we need to reform Medicare,” Toomey said. “But this budget represents a necessary first step. It reaches a balance.”

    Toomey’s plan also cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations. He said that will stimulate economic growth.

    But Josh Gordon, policy director with the Concord Coalition, says that’s not necessarily true. He said employment is more important for economic growth. Gordon, whose nonpartisan grassroots organization advocates for balanced budgets, said he’d rather have a long-term fix over a short-term one.

    “We believe that the long-term imbalances are the most important things to focus on,” Gordon said. “But we also believe that the more quickly we can act, the better off we can be over the long run.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.