A Democrat from the Pacific Northwest joined forces with a Midwest Republican on a Medicare overhaul plan combining a private insurance option with subsidized premiums — a scheme that critics say is more red than blue-blooded.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) released their plan — they have not yet introduced formal legislation — with the explanation that it would promote competition, always a popular notion with the GOP, yet retain Medicare as an option for seniors, something Democrats have pledged to do.