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GOP says Obama must lead on Medicare

March 17, 2013 at 1:46 PM

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- A Senate Republican Sunday said President Obama must break the news to the U.S. public that Medicare will have to be scaled back to save it.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Sunday the public needs to know Medicare is running a serious deficit, and Obama needs to take to the presidential pulpit to tell them those days are over.

"We will know when the president is serious by virtue of a process that's set up where he is actually at the table ... and whether he begins to say publicly to the American people that he understands that Americans are only paying 1/3 of the costs of Medicare, and that has to change for the program to be here down the road," Corker said on "Fox News Sunday."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the White House was agreeable to entitlement reform, but not to the major meat-ax surgery degree he said many Republicans wanted to see.

"That's what the president is trying to set that -- both sides sitting down on a bipartisan basis," Durbin said. "Not eliminating Medicare -- as I'm afraid the [Rep.] Paul Ryan [R-Wis.] budget would do -- but making sure it's going to survive for generations to come."

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