Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hasn’t gotten a lot of help from his GOP colleagues in defending against scurrilous attacks on his Medicare reform plan. So today he’s unveiling his own campaign (not for the presidency), with a video to explain what he’s up to and why Medicare “as we know it” is going by the wayside, no matter what.

It’s evident that Ryan now understands that to win the debate he can’t cede the stage to the naysayers.

In a statement, Ryan says:

We can no longer let politicians in Washington deny the danger to Medicare – the danger is all too real, and the health of our nation’s seniors is far too important. We have to save Medicare to avoid disruptions in benefits for current seniors, and to strengthen the program for future generations. House Republicans have put forward a plan to do just that. Democratic leaders in Congress have failed to produce a plan – it has been 755 days since Senate Democrats even passed a budget. Meanwhile, the President’s plan would empower a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats to cut Medicare for current seniors, while failing to save the program for future retirees.

This video lays out the clear choice our nation faces on Medicare: Will Medicare become a program in which a board of bureaucrats manages its bankruptcy by denying care to seniors? Or will leaders work together to save and strengthen Medicare by empowering seniors to choose health care plans that work best for them, with less support for the wealthy and more help for the poor and the sick? House Republicans have advanced solutions to save Medicare. Instead of working with us, the leaders of the Democratic Party have opted to play politics with the health security of America’s seniors.

Here’s his video , posted at the House budget committee website, explaining why “Washington has not been honest with you about Medicare”:

He’s remarkably effective in illustrating the daunting cost of the existing Medicare program, and in explaining that the alternative is not business-as-usual but empowering “a panel of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats decide how much, or how little, Medicare will pay doctors and which services Medicare will, or will not, pay doctors to provide for their patients.” And (albeit too late to help Newt Gingrich) he describes his own plan is anything but radical. “Those in or near retirement should not be forced to reorganize their lives because of government’s mistakes. That’s why our budget ensures no changes for those 55 years old or older. But for future generations, we need real reform.”

The debate is just beginning. Ryan will mount his offensive in the days ahead. And his belief that voters will listen to reasoned arguments on the merits will be put to the test.