Ryan Says GOP Will Protect Medicare

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

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

Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Politics, Health Reform

Aug 30, 2012

In a speech to the Republican convention, the vice presidential candidate parried Democratic attacks on his Medicare proposals, saying, “The usual posturing on the Left isn’t going to work. Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program and raiding it.”

The New York Times: Rousing G.O.P., Ryan Faults ‘Missing’ Leadership
Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, whose budget plans have come to define conservative opposition to President Obama’s governing philosophy, accepted the Republican vice-presidential nomination on Wednesday as his party embraced the gamble that the small-government principles he represents have more political payoff than peril. Before an audience of party faithful that he brought to life with his address, Mr. Ryan, 42, sought to turn his relative youth to his advantage, saying he would stand with Mitt Romney in embarking on a generational struggle to protect the very social program — Medicare — that Democrats accuse him of trying to dismantle (Rutenberg, 8/29).

The New York Times: Ryan Speech Equal Parts Biography, Policy And Contrast
In the face of attacks by Mr. Obama and Democrats to paint Republicans as foes of Medicare, Mr. Ryan said, essentially: Bring it on. “Our opponents can consider themselves on notice,” he said. “In this election, on this issue, the usual posturing on the Left isn’t going to work. Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it. Ladies and gentlemen, our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate” (Shear, 8/29).

Los Angeles Times: Ryan Leads GOP Assault On Obama
While Tuesday’s first convention night was devoted to broad strokes — praise for the Republican ticket, condemnation of the Democrats — Ryan began to fill in a few details of what a Romney administration would seek to accomplish. He called for the repeal of “Obamacare” and set a job-creation goal that would far surpass the number created under Obama. … Beyond policy, Ryan spoke to one of Romney’s biggest political liabilities: a perception of pliability suggested by his changed position on abortion and other issues. “Here is our pledge,” Ryan said, as his running mate watched on TV from a nearby hotel suite. “We will not duck the tough issues. We will lead” (Barabak and Lauter, 8/29).

Los Angeles Times: Ryan Rouses GOP Convention By Trashing Obama On Economy
He also faulted Obama for devoting a good deal of his first term to what he called “a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of healthcare.” He did not mention the similar landmark healthcare law that Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts. “Obamacare comes to more than 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country,” Ryan told the crowd, which punctuated his speech with applause after nearly every line (Finnegan, 8/29).

The Washington Post: Paul Ryan Promises GOP ‘Won’t Duck The Tough Issues’
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin accepted the GOP nomination for vice president on Wednesday with a declaration that President Obama, who was elected four years ago on a promise of hope and change, has failed and his opportunity has been squandered. … Ryan’s selection was a big gamble for presidential candidate Mitt Romney, given the House Budget Committee chairman’s authorship of a controversial budget that would overhaul the federal Medicare program — whose preservation is an issue on which Democrats have frequently bested Republicans (Tumulty, 8/29).

Kaiser Health News (Video): Ryan: ‘Greatest Threat To Medicare Is Obamacare’
Video: Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential nominee, was not the only speaker who denounced the health law at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night (8/30).

The Washington Post: Paul Ryan Tells His Story In Convention Speech, But Skips The Wonky Parts
Since Mitt Romney chose Ryan as his running mate, there has been little sign of the Budget Committee chairman who wants to reengineer Medicare and who wades confidently through billions and trillions. Instead, Ryan casts himself more simply, as a football-loving family man from the Midwest who hunts deer and catches catfish. During his last big speech, the largest number involved in his personal appeal was 67 — the number of his cousins. This approach is useful because it does not highlight the differences between Ryan’s big ideas and Romney’s. But it is also a version of a well-honed pitch that has carried Ryan to success in Washington (Fahrenthold and Sonmez, 8/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan Pledges GOP Rebirth
Mr. Ryan’s selection heralds the emergence of a new generation of Republican leaders willing to reshape the main pillars of a social safety net that has been in place since the 1960s. The 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman is the architect of far-reaching legislation to cut federal spending and to overhaul entitlement programs, including a proposal to transform Medicare from open-ended health coverage for seniors into a system in which future beneficiaries buy private insurance, or buy into the traditional Medicare program, with premiums subsidized by the government (O’Connor and McKinnon, 8/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Party Takes Risk On Seniors Plan
Rep. Paul Ryan signaled Wednesday that rather than running from Democratic attacks on Republican plans to overhaul Medicare, his party will carry the attack to President Barack Obama. In accepting his party’s nomination as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Mr. Ryan intensified his party’s complaints about Medicare spending cuts that were part of Mr. Obama’s signature health-care law, taking the offensive on an issue that has been an albatross for the GOP for years (Hook and Nicholas, 8/29).

USA Today: News Analysis: Ryan Says ‘America Needs A Turnaround’
It is Paul Ryan’s party now. … Ryan and the GOP “young guns” he helps lead, boosted by the Tea Party movement, are providing much of the energy in the grass-roots, the enthusiasm in the hall and the ideological stamp that has the GOP ticket playing offense on an issue such as Medicare, long seen by the party establishment as a snare certain to rebound to Democrats’ advantage (Page, 8/30).

Roll Call: Paul Ryan Issues Blistering Indictment Of Barack Obama
Ryan criticized Obama for siphoning money from Medicare to pay for (the health overhaul) — repeating the Romney-Ryan campaign’s counterpunch on the attacks Democrats have repeated for the last year on Ryan’s own budget blueprint to remake and slash the long-term costs of the program. “You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. … The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it” (Dennis, 8/29).

CBS: Paul Ryan Delivers Scathing Critique Of President Obama Policies
[H]e also delivered a message to seniors, defending his controversial Medicare reform proposals to offer seniors a voucher-like system for private insurance by pointing to the president’s health care plan. Ryan said, “An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for” (Crawford, 8/30).

Fox News: Ryan Takes Aim At Obama In RNC Speech, Vows GOP Won’t ‘Duck The Tough Issues’
Ryan also renewed the ticket’s pledge to repeal “ObamaCare” and continued to claim that he and Romney invite a debate about Medicare – which Democrats have tried to use against Ryan because of his own controversial plan (Berger and Weber, 8/29).

Modern Healthcare: Reform Law Is Biggest Threat To Medicare, Ryan Says
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) energized the crowd at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday when he said the greatest threat to Medicare is the 2010 healthcare law that has become the hallmark legislation of the Obama administration. … As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan drafted budgets for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 that include plans to overhaul the nation’s federal healthcare entitlement programs through a premium-support model for Medicare and block grant payments to states for Medicaid. Both of those ideas have become a part of the GOP’s official party platform, which was released Tuesday (Zigmond, 8/30).

Politico Pro: Ryan’s Medicare ‘Raid’ Charge Open To Debate
Paul Ryan accused President Barack Obama of “raiding” Medicare to pay for his own health care reform law — a claim that has already put Democrats on defense on the fight over entitlement reform. Ryan’s claim: Obama took $716 billion from Medicare to pay for his law, thus cutting the entitlement program. The problem: that’s not entirely true, as many fact-checking outlets have noted. While the Obama health care law does take money from Medicare providers, it does not shift the costs to beneficiaries. It pays Medicare Advantage private health plans less, trims annual increases that hospitals, home health and nursing homes receive under Medicare, and imposes new fees on drug and device makers (Kenen, 8/29).

Politico: Paul Ryan Health Primer: What He Said, What He Didn’t
Paul Ryan used his convention speech Wednesday night to bash “Obamacare,” reassure seniors — and neutralize the Democratic attacks he knows are coming on his Medicare plans. But what he didn’t say is just as important as what he did (Nather, 8/30).

The Associated Press: Fact Check: Ryan Takes Factual Shortcuts In Speech
Laying out the first plans for his party’s presidential ticket, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took some factual shortcuts Wednesday night when he attacked President Barack Obama’s policies on Medicare, the economic stimulus and the budget deficit. … A closer look at some of the words spoken at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla. (Gillum and Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/30).

Meanwhile, other speakers also took aim at the Democrats’ health plan–

CBS (Video): Huckabee: Health Care Law Is An Attack On Faith
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee says President Obama’s health care legislation inhibits religious freedom and makes people of faith “bow their knees to the god of government,” during his speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa (8/29).

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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