Congressman Kind disagrees with Ryan plan on Medicare - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Congressman Kind disagrees with Ryan plan on Medicare

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CHARLOTTE (WKOW) -- At their national convention this week, Democrats have poked a lot of holes in GOP Vice-Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan's plan to trim the national deficit by privatizing parts of Social Security and Medicare.

But they haven't talked a lot about how they would reduce costs in the programs before they run out of money.

Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees all issues related to Social Security and Medicare.

He agrees changes need to be made to both programs, but not the changes Rep. Ryan's (R-Janesville) proposed.

"Yes, we need to modernize it, but I don't think we should be privatizing it," Rep. Kind told 27 News on Wednesday.

Rep. Kind is definitely not a fan of Rep. Ryan's proposal of giving Medicare vouchers to seniors, so they can go out and buy their own health insurance.

"The reason why Medicare had to be created to begin with, in 1965, was because private insurance companies don't want to have to insure seniors," said Rep. Kind.  "They're not profitable."

Kind says the fix should come by paying doctors for necessary medical services, but not for costly tests and procedures that aren't necessary.

"So we're paying for the value, or the outcome of care that's given, and no longer the volume of services and tests and procedures, because we haven't been getting a good bang for our buck," said Rep. Kind. 

Kind says that's actually addressed in the Affordable Care Act.

On the topic of Social Security, Rep. Kind says the problem's been overblown by Republicans.

"Literally, if Congress does absolutely nothing and sits on our hands, Social Security is fully solvent up to 75 percent of the benefits for the next 100 years," said Kind.

But when pushed to explain how to make the program 100 percent solvent for the foreseeable future, Kind is less specific on a plan.

"There are a variety of proposals and, again, that's something that both parties are going to have to get together on and try to work together on," said Kind. 

But, Republicans may be winning the battle of public opinion, at least on Social Security.

Recent polls consistently show roughly half of the American working public believes that Social Security benefits will not be there when they retire.

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