Does Prince Ryan's Medicare Plan Have No Clothes?

Let me be clear…I’m a big fan of Congressman Paul Ryan.

However, I strive for philosophical and intellectual consistency, and I’m having a hard time with all of the conservative applause for Ryan’s Medicare reform ideas.  I’m no longer a supporter of Newt Gingrich, but his recent description of Ryan’s plan as “right-wing social engineering” appears to me to be more accurate than we conservatives are willing to admit.

Let’s recap.  My understanding is that the Ryan plan calls for no changes to Medicare for those already over age 55.  No problem there.

For those younger than 55, there would be a “defined benefit” plan that would allow low-income Americans to purchase health insurance from federally-approved providers that would meet their basic healthcare needs once they reach retirement age (an age which is yet to be determined, but likely around 70).

For middle and high income Americans, the federal benefit would be slightly to more than slightly less than the actual premium price for the coverage.  In other words, wealthier Americans would be expected to pay more to have the same level of coverage that would be provided at no cost for low income Americans.

If correct, doesn’t this mean that high income Americans will be contributing more money in their pre-retirement years and will receive less “benefits” when they actually reach retirement age?  This sounds like old-fashioned wealth redistribution to me (or in other words “conservative social engineering.”)

Am I missing something here?