WASHINGTON -- Republican budget guru Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday that by cutting $500 billion from Medicare, his budget proposal would keep that money for Medicare.
ABCNews' "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos asked Ryan about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's contested claim that health care reform simultaneously cuts $500 billion from Medicare, hikes taxes by $500 billion and adds trillions to the deficit over a 10-year stretch.
"By that accounting," Stephanopoulos said, "your own budget, which Gov. Romney has endorsed, would also have $500 billion in Medicare cuts."
"Well our budget keeps that money for Medicare to extend its solvency," Ryan said. "What Obamacare does is it takes that money from Medicare to spend on Obamacare."
Stephanopoulos was confused: "Congressman, correct me if I am wrong: I thought your Medicare savings were put toward deficit reduction, debt reduction."
"Which extends the solvency of Medicare," Ryan said. "What they do in Obamacare, they try to count this dollar twice. They claim that this helps Medicare solvency and, at the same time, they spend this money on creating Obamacare.
"The trustee report for Medicare, they say the same thing," Ryan added. "You can't count these dollars twice. In our budget we make sure all of these dollars from Medicare savings go toward extending the solvency of Medicare and don't go toward spending new money on Obamacare."
According to the Congressional Budget Office, which has projected that the Affordable Care Act would reduce the deficit, the Medicare "cuts" called for by the new health care law are more restrictions on future growth in spending.