Budget hawk: A closer look at the Ryan plan

4. Ryan would slash Medicaid, the insurance program for some low-income people, by $735 billion over ten years, and hand the program back to the states to administer with more freedom. The CBO writes that states would most likely have to "reduce payments to providers, curtail eligibility forĀ Medicaid, provide less extensive coverage to beneficiaries, or pay more themselvesĀ than would be the case under current law."

5. The budget spares Social Security and defense spending, which are left at current levels. Ryan's decision to back off Social Security is interesting, since he put forward proposals to privatize the program around the same time that President George W. Bush tried to sell the nation on a similar proposal. (Social Security does not face the same solvency challenges as Medicare and Medicaid, and is not projected to grow much as a percentage of GDP over the next 20 years.)

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