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BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney And Medicare

Romney Proposed Ending Medicare As We Know It

Wall Street Journal: Romney’s Proposal Would Privatize Medicare. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Mitt Romney waded into the hot-button issue of Medicare, proposing to offer future seniors a choice between the current fee-for-service health plan or a voucher to purchase health insurance plans offered by private insurance companies. The Romney Medicare plan could become a hallmark of the 2012 presidential campaign should he win the Republican nomination. Democrats had already planned to make the Ryan plan a centerpiece of their efforts to unseat Republicans in Congress. Now, Mr. Romney has thrust Medicare privatization into the presidential race.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/4/11]

Associated Press: Romney’s Plan Would “Fundamentally Re-Shape Medicare.” According to the Associated Press, “Mitt Romney on Friday unveiled a plan to fundamentally re-shape Medicare, tackling one of the 2012 presidential contest’s most delicate issues before a skeptical crowd of tea party activists. To cut costs, the Republican presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts governor would introduce vouchers, or ‘premium supports,’ to future recipients of the popular health insurance program for the elderly.” [Associated Press, 11/4/11]

Kaiser Health News: Romney’s Medicare Plan “Would Fundamentally Change The Nature Of The Popular Program” According to Kaiser Health News, “Mitt Romney’s plan to overhaul Medicare follows a familiar Republican prescription: Use the power of the marketplace to bring down costs and improve care. Yet, such a move would fundamentally change the nature of the popular program, and treads close to a proposal that Republicans were heavily criticized for earlier this year.” [Kaiser Health News, 11/8/11]

 

America’s Seniors Would Be Worse Off Under Romney’s Plan

Ron Pollack, Executive Director Of The Consumer Group Families USA, Predicted That Medicare’s Oldest And Sickest Beneficiaries Would Be Worse Off Under Romney’s Plan. According to Kaiser Health News, “Ron Pollack, executive director of the consumer group Families USA, predicted that Medicare’s oldest and sickest beneficiaries would be worse off under Romney’s plan. With limits on the government’s contributions for premiums, seniors could end up with fewer benefits for the same or higher costs, he said.” [Kaiser Health News, 11/8/11]

Romney’s Supported Plan Would Result In More Money Coming From The Pockets Of Consumers. According to Kaiser Health News, “Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a N.Y.-based consumer advocacy group, discounts Romney’s claims that having more seniors in private plans will save Medicare money. The Medicare Advantage program, he said, ‘has not brought down costs, so to think that there’s a new version that willy nilly by itself will bring down costs is a fantasy….It’s really cover for the real goal, and that is to end Medicare as we know it and by doing that, have more money come out of the pockets of consumers and save the federal government money.’” [Kaiser Health News, 11/8/11]

 

Romney’s False Attacks On President Obama And Medicare

Politifact Gave Romney’s Claim That Obama Was “Ending Medicare As We Know It” A “Pants On Fire” Rating. According to Politifact, “Mitt Romney is trying to turn the tables on President Barack Obama by using a favorite Democratic line against him, accusing Obama of ‘ending Medicare as we know it.’ […]The Romney campaign used it in a news release that listed five questions, each beginning with ‘Why is President Obama ending Medicare as we know it…’ […]Overall, then, the Romney news release is a talking point in search of facts. It takes some shreds of truth and combines them with worst-case-scenario speculations, then deploys overheated language. Even if each of his five claims were true, it would be a stretch to say that they added up to ‘ending Medicare as we know it.’ But given their degree of inaccuracy, the memo doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Under Obama’s approach, Medicare would still be a large, single-payer, federally run health care program for seniors — slimmer in some areas, more generous in others, with a smattering of different rules. That’s not ‘ending Medicare as we know it,’ which is just the latest line in a long history of political attempts to scare seniors. We rate Romney’s claim Pants on Fire.” [Politifact, 03/22/12]

 

Ryan Plan Contains Same Medicare Savings As Affordable Care Act

The Ryan Budget Proposed The Same $500 Billion In Medicare Savings As The Affordable Care Act, Which Romney Attacked. According to NPR, “Romney said he supported the Ryan budget the day it was unveiled. ‘I applaud it,’ he said. ‘It’s an excellent piece of work, and very much needed.’ Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., a member of the budget committee, says Romney’s praise is a contradiction. ‘Mitt Romney and the Republicans are trying to have it both ways,’ he says. What they’re trying to have, he says, is $500 billion in projected Medicare savings. Those savings are part of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s health care law. They’re achieved through slower payments to hospitals and a reduction in the overpayment of premiums to Medicare Advantage providers. Those savings are something Romney hits President Obama on day after day on the campaign trail. ‘There’s only one president in history who’s cut $500 billion out of Medicare, and that’s your guy, Barack Obama,’ Romney said recently. ‘And if I’m president, I’m going to preserve Medicare. I’m not going to cut $500 billion out of the Medicare that we have.’ But here’s the rub: The Ryan budget assumes that very same $500 billion cut. Well, ‘cut’ isn’t the right word; ‘savings’ is more accurate. The reality is that in real dollars, Medicare spending will keep rising — just not by as much. ‘Their budget — the Romney-Ryan budget — takes all of those savings that they complained about,’ Van Hollen says.” [NPR, 3/29/12]

 

Romney Will Raise The Medicare Eligibility Age

Romney Would Raise The Eligibility Age For Medicare. According to Yahoo News, “Days before a pivotal primary, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday (Feb. 24) he would raise the eligibility age for Medicare as he looks to show he’s willing to curtail government benefits in the long run. It was a new detail in a major campaign speech that was otherwise short on new policy ideas. […] ‘With these commonsense changes, we will have fixed our balance sheet,’ Romney told the crowd of about 1200.” [Yahoo News, 2/24/12]

Romney Said His Plan Would Preserve Medicare And Social Security “At Or Near” Retirement And Strengthen Them Without Tax Increases. According to Romney For President, during a speech before the Newspaper Association, Romney said “My plan preserves these programs for those at or near retirement and strengthens them for future generations – without tax increases.  I will gradually raise the retirement age for Social Security, and reduce the rate of benefit growth for tomorrow’s higher income seniors.  I will introduce market competition and consumer choice to Medicare, while also preserving traditional Medicare coverage as an option, so that future seniors can get higher quality care at lower cost.” [Romney For President, 4/04/12]