Politics
4:16 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Howell Presents Plan to Curb Medicare Spending

U.S. Senate Candidate Scott Howell says he has a plan to cut half a trillion dollars from Medicare and Social Security without gutting benefits. He announced his strategy this morning at the South Town Expo Center in Sandy where hundreds of senior citizens gathered for the Utah Senior Expo. 

Howell attacked incumbent GOP Senator Orrin Hatch for his support of Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan’s budget. In that plan, Ryan outlines converting Medicare to a voucher system that would push future retirees into the private sector for coverage. Howell said there is a better way to reform the program.

“When I’m talking about we can cut, we can cut the waste out of there, we can cut the fraud out,” Howell said. “We can make it so it’s more efficient and effective.”

Howell said Congress should vote to remove social security numbers from Medicare cards to protect seniors against fraud, allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices and support legislation that would allow drugs to be imported from Canada.

Evelyn Call, a spokeswoman for Senator Orrin Hatch said Hatch supports the Ryan plan, but that’s one of many. 

“He will not support any kind of reform that would affect people who are currently on these programs and benefiting from them or soon to be, so that’s off the table, but he’s willing to look at any kind of ideas to see what could work,” Call said.

Call said she believes if Hatch is re-elected, his seniority in the Senate would give him more influence over legislation than Scott Howell, who would enter the Senate as a freshman lawmaker.