Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a likely GOP presidential candidate, says “messaging” is important, and Republicans need to rework the way they talk about reforming Medicare.  

“There’s a few messages we need to transmit. Number one: the Paul Ryan plan really should be called the ’55-and-under plan’,” Bachmann says. “No one who is 55 years of age or older will see any changes in their plan. The only changes will be for those below age 55 and that’s where the reforms will be.”

Paul Ryan is the Wisconsin Congressman who proposed requiring those under the age of 55 to use a government voucher to buy health insurance when they reach retirement age. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich got into hot water with his fellow Republicans for criticizing the plan. Bachmann has voted for the plan, although she has indicated there’s an asterisk beside her “yes” vote, as she’d like to see changes in the plan. Doing nothing is not an option, according to Bachmann, as she says that would mean “certain insolvency” for Medicare.    

“I do commend my colleague Paul Ryan for wanting to deal with the out-of-control spending because what we know right now from the latest figures is that Medicare will not be sustainable. In other words, there won’t be enough money to pay for Medicare in just 13 years from now,” Bachmann says.  “That is a very real situation.”

But Bachmann says she wants to focus on the “humanity” of dealing with changes in Medicare and ensure that older Americans who depend on the system as it currently exists are reassured their benefits won’t change.

“That’s something that we have learned, that there’s a failure in the messaging about what we need to do,” Bachmann says. 

Bachmann made her comments during taping of the Iowa Public Television program, “Iowa Press,” which will air this Friday at 7:30 p.m. (Watch the show online now.)

Bachmann announced last week that she will be in Waterloo sometime in June to make an announcement about running for president.  On Monday former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told CNN she would visit Iowa in June.  And another former governor who announced this month that he is running for president is campaigning in the state today. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is scheduled to visit Sioux Center, Le Mars and Sioux City.