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Romney Camp Memo Takes on Obama on Medicare

11:24 AM, Aug 18, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Nor is it true, as the President has claimed, that the money gets spent within Obamacare on benefits for seniors. For instance, addressing the Medicare Part D coverage gap only uses $20 billion of the funds. In fact, the new Medicare-related spending is so insignificant that the current CBO score does not even bother mention it. It reports that Obamacare spends $642 billion on Medicaid expansion, $1,017 on exchange subsidies, $23 billion on tax credits, and that is all. One might forgive seniors for wondering whether strengthening Medicare is really the goal.

Mitt Romney And Paul Ryan Will Restore The Medicare Funding That Seniors Paid For And Deserve To Receive. Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan believe Obamacare was a terrible mistake, and have repeatedly made clear that they believe it must be repealed in its entirety. This includes repeal of President Obama’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts that slash provider payments and Medicare Advantage and threaten seniors’ access to care. Once Obamacare has been wiped off the books, America can move forward with patient-centered health care reforms that improve access and control cost, as well as with entitlement reform that protects Medicare for current seniors while strengthening it for future generations.

Romney and Ryan also believe that we must act to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse throughout the federal government, including within Medicare. That is why, in the same speech where he outlined his fiscal plan that included the repeal of Obamacare and reforms to Medicare, Governor Romney also highlighted the need to tackle improper payments. Similarly, the broader Romney-Ryan health care reforms to control costs throughout the system — e.g., greater choice and competition, tort reform, the block grant of Medicaid, etc. — will lead to lower costs for Medicare as well. But savings must come from lower prices in the marketplace, not from the government cutting support for the coverage and care on which seniors are depending.

So to be clear, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have the same vision for the future of Medicare. The plan put forward by Governor Romney in November 2011, and the bipartisan one put forward in December 2012, take the same approach that (a) makes no changes to Medicare for those over 55; (b) starting in 2022, transitions Medicare to a premium support model with competitive bidding to determine support levels, (c) offers traditional Medicare as an option competing in that system, and (d) means-tests the premium support so that lower-income seniors receive the most generous assistance. 

In the short-term, Romney and Ryan both believe that Obamacare must be repealed in its entirety, and they both believe that savings realized in Medicare must be preserved for the Medicare trust fund. The only “difference” in their approaches has been that the House Budget authored by Congressman Ryan uses the post-Obamacare baseline for Medicare spending for the ten-year budget window whereas Governor Romney’s budget uses a pre-Obamacare baseline. But the principles are the same: repeal Obamacare, prevent the President’s raid of Medicare, and pursue the long-term reforms they have both outlined to strengthen the program for future generations.

Only President Obama threatens access to care for seniors and cuts off the insurance plans that millions rely on, all to pay for a federal takeover of the health care system that barely affects seniors. If he believes this is the right approach, he should defend it instead of refusing to even acknowledge that it is what he has done.

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