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Understanding Rep. Ryan's Plan for Medicare

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left many details to Congress when he unveiled Tuesday his plan to make major changes to Medicare as part of a fiscal 2012 budget resolution. He says his overall objective is to convert Medicare into a premium support program for which the government will spend a specific amount for beneficiaries' care, a fundamental shift from the current fee-for-service program. Backers of premium support say it is similar to the health insurance program for federal workers but others say it may not meet seniors’ needs. Insurers are eager for the additional business but wonder if payments will be adequate to cover the cost of care. Here is a guide to some of the issues and questions raised by Ryan's plan, which faces enormous political hurdles given expected Democratic opposition.

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