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U.S. Rep. Tom Price Gives Sandy Springs Crowd Republican Take on Changes to Health Care

State Rep. Stacey Abrams, Democrat, delivers counterpoint but agrees changes to entitlements must be made.

Healthcare was the topic of Georgia Congressman Tom Price's talk, Monday, at a Perimeter Chamber Breakfast. 

“Unless we address the issues of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, we cannot - we will not – grow this economy,” said Price to a crowded room at the Westin Hotel.

Price told the crowd that $2.5 trillion of $3.5 trillion in federal government spending is spent on entitlements.

“You can’t balance the budget without changes to Medicare…Which is why I can’t tell you how excited I am that my party selected Paul Ryan [as the vice presidential pick],” he said.

Whatever side of the health care debate folks fall on, Price said one thing in which most people would agree, there will be a lot of harsh banter slung around the issue in the coming weeks.

“The fact is you will hear over the next 78 days how the plan proposed by my team is going to destroy Medicare. I can make a pretty good argument that’s exactly what the President has done,” the Congressman said.

Gives us your take on the health care debate in the comments below. Is it fair? Is it equal? Does it represent community?

According to Price, President Obama has taken $716 billion from Medicare to fund the Affordable Care Act. A Republican proposed defined contribution plan would let people select their own health care coverage, including Medicare, and thereby save money, he said. 

“The proposal that my team has put forward as it relates to Medicare will result in no changes for anybody above the age of 55,” he said. 

Democratic State Rep. says Congress must strike a balance for both sides.

Democratic State Rep. Stacey Abrams told Patch that the $716 billion was reallocated to eliminate waste and fraud. "With Obama’s plan the realignments will make sure the neediest seniors will haves the services they need," she said.

“The Ryan plan would cut benefits…which presumes health care costs, would never change. I would be surprised to find any physician who thinks costs would not ever change," Abrams said.

Bringing up an end to , Price said a Republican solution is to decrease marginal tax rates to get the economy on track.

“If a business is over $250,000, the President wants to increase taxes on you, job creators…Most of you are subchapter S corporations and file under marginal rates,” Price said.

Abrams said there is a myth that small businesses will go under with the end of the Bush tax cuts.  Small business owners should pay taxes commensurate with their tax bracket, she said.

“When they file their taxes, what they have to do is account for their profits and losses, and they get taxed on ordinary income,” Abrams said.

She added, “Price is correct. We are not going to get out of the deficit without taking a look at entitlements. The question is what is the balance that you strike.”

Price indicated that the end of Bush tax cuts will bring unnecessary pain to a weak economy.  “You can’t have a $500 billion increase and expect the economy is going to have any chance of working through the challenges we’ve got,” he said.

The Congressman is running for re-election in Georgia’s 6th District in November. His seat represents North Fulton, East Cobb, Dunwoody, Brookhaven and North Dekalb, parts of Tucker and Doraville.

Tell us in the comments what changes should be made to health care. Should Medicare be touched?

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