Even before being tapped as Mitt Romney's VP pick, Congressman Paul Ryan was considered a rising star among Republicans for his budget plan, which was a stark contrast from what President Obama was proposing. Now, it's his health care plan that's getting a lot of attention. Grace Rauh takes a closer look at how Ryan's proposals compare to President Obama's.
UNITED STATES – “More than any other election, this is a choice about two different visions for the country. For two different directions about where America should go,” President Barack Obama said.
When it comes to health care, the differences between the Democratic and Republican candidates for president are stark.
Mitt Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, have pledged to undo the president's massive health care reform law. It is the single biggest legislative achievement of the president's first term.
In June, the Supreme Court upheld most of the law, including the individual mandate. It would require most Americans to obtain health insurance in two years or pay a fine. Insurers will be required to cover people with pre-existing conditions. And it allows young adults to remain on their parents' health plans until they are 26. The President also sought to expand Medicaid, the government health program for low-income Americans. But it was dealt a blow when the court ruled that states can opt out.
In addition to scrapping the law, Ryan has also proposed deep reductions in Medicaid spending. Henry Aaron, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, says the cuts would have a severe impact.
“And would eventually, virtually end the program as we currently know it,” Aaron said.
Ryan and Obama's budget plans both call for more federal spending over the next decade. But Ryan would spend about $5 trillion less over the next decade than President Obama.
Ryan would cut funding for social safety net programs, while Obama would largely preserve them. Ryan has argued that they are failing vulnerable citizens. He says their growth is unsustainable.
“I think that over the past 20 years or so, there has opened up between the two parties a cavernous difference in philosophies about the role of government in a whole range of areas, including in protecting the vulnerable,” Aaron said.
That difference in philosophies will be put to the test in November, when voters go to the polls.