Medicare Politics By The Numbers?

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, 2008 US presidential candidate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Politics

Aug 15, 2012

The budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., assumed the same amount of Medicare savings as President Obama’s health care law. News outlets report that both presidential campaigns are accusing the other of undermining the insurance program for the elderly and disabled, and they attempt to separate fact from fiction.

The New York Times: Obama-Ryan Battle Intensifies Over Medicare Savings
Representative Paul D. Ryan‘s budget blueprint assumes the same amount of Medicare savings as President Obama’s health care law, even though Mitt Romney and Mr. Ryan have said those cuts would be devastating to millions of older Americans on Medicare … Mr. Obama would use the savings to help offset the cost of covering the uninsured, as well as to improve the financial condition of the Medicare trust fund. Mr. Ryan says he would use the money to shore up Medicare and to help reduce budget deficits (Pear, 8/14).

Politico: Beneath ‘Mediscare’ Talk, Who’s Right?
So you can forget about that high-minded “adult conversation” about entitlement spending that everyone says we ought to have. Obama doesn’t want it, Romney doesn’t want it and the National Republican Congressional Committee officially took it off the table this week with a memo advising candidates not to even utter the words “entitlement reform.” What we’ll get now is three months of “Mediscare” — with Republicans and Democrats warning daily that the other guy would throw grandma off the cliff (Haberkorn, 8/14).

The Wall Street Journal: Medicare Highlights Divide On GOP Ticket
With Medicare now at the center of the presidential campaign, an emerging point of contention is the $716 billion reduction over 10 years in the program’s growth enacted as part of President Barack Obama’s health-care law. What makes this battle unusual is the lineup on each side. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan this year incorporated the Obama cuts. But presumed Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who just tapped Mr. Ryan as his running mate, says the cuts will gut Medicare, and he is pledging to repeal them (Landers, 8/14).

National Journal: Ryan Renounces Medicare Cuts That Were Part Of His Budget
Rep. Paul Ryan, in a Fox News interview that aired on Tuesday evening, renounced $716 billion in cuts to Medicare that were part of his fiscal 2013 budget. That assertion helps strengthen an attack line on President Obama’s health reform law that had been partially undermined by the details of Ryan’s controversial budget proposal. In the interview, the House member from Wisconsin said he now favors overturning the health reform law in its entirety, including its budget-saving measures (Sanger-Katz, 8/14).

National Journal: Obama And Romney On Medicare: The Basics
Here’s a breakdown of the major features of the two candidates’ plans for the program, laying out how each would change life for current and future beneficiaries, and where future budget savings are achieved. OBAMA/BIDEN: President Obama has already spelled out his vision for Medicare reform in his 2010 health reform law. The law pares back about $700 billion in Medicare growth over the next 10 years through several mechanisms and launches some payment reforms designed to reduce wasteful use of health care by beneficiaries. … ROMNEY/RYAN: There are some small differences between Romney and Ryan’s proposals on Medicare, but they share a basic core — the assertion that competition and choice can drive down costs more effectively than a government monolith (Sanger-Katz, 8/14).

McClatchy Newspapers: Paul Ryan’s Plan For Medicare Sets Stage For Campaign Debate
Even before Romney selected his running mate, his website touted Medicare-restructuring ideas similar to Ryan’s. Both men support the idea of giving future retirees a fixed amount of money and letting them choose whether to spend it in traditional Medicare fee-for-service programs or use it to buy private insurance (Hall, 8/14).

ABCNews:  FACT CHECK:  Obama, Ryan, Romney Backed Medicare Cuts
One way or another, Barack Obama, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney all have supported the $700 billion in cuts to Medicare spending now in place under the Affordable Care Act.  But you wouldn’t know that by listening to the current debate (Tapper/Dwyer/Walshe, 8/14).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

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