House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is urging the White House to get serious on the issue of entitlement reform.
Ryan accused President Obama of playing politics with Medicare while the nation heads toward a debt crisis, during a face-to-face meeting with Obama and House Republican leaders.
"We got to take on this debt," the Wisconsin lawmaker said following Wednesday's meeting. "And if we demagogue each other at the leadership level, then we're never going to take on our debt."
Some Democrats accuse the GOP of trying to destroy the popular health care program.
"He doesn't believe that we need to end Medicare as we know it," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
But Ryan said his party wants to reform Medicare before it runs out of money - not to destroy it.
He explained that his plan would not affect people over age 55. Instead, future Medicare beneficiaries would be given government subsidies to purchase private health insurance.
"It's been misdescribed by the president and many others. So we simply described to him what it is we've been proposing so that he hears from us how our proposal works," Ryan said.
GOP leaders also note that the president has yet to put forth a strategy that would save Medicare or reduce deficits.
"Unfortunately what we did not hear from the president is a specific plan," Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said.