WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) -- Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Sunday Medicare "is going broke" and gave qualified support to Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan.
Speaking on ABC's "This Week", the newly declared Republican presidential candidate said: "If the only choices were doing nothing like President [Barack] Obama is doing and Paul Ryan's plan, I'd sign it."
Saying "it's time for the truth," Pawlenty declared: "As to Medicare, everybody knows it's sinking. It's going broke. The current program … only has about 50 percent of it paid for by either premiums or payroll taxes, and the rest is deficit spending."
He said his own proposal would differ somewhat from the one offered by House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan, R-Wis., and would address Social Security as well.
"We're not going to pay Medicare providers under my plan just for volumes of services provided," he said. "We're going to pay for better results and better health care outcome."
"And we're going to give people lots of choices" besides staying in the present system.
Pawlenty also opposed raising the federal debt ceiling unless "they get something really good for it … like a balanced budget amendment."