Back and Forth on Medicare

Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate put a focus on Medicare.  An interesting exchange occurred on August 16, when
Romney, equipped with a whiteboard, did a press avail outside the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

ICYMI from Romney for President

August 16, 2012
“This is the President’s plan: $716 billion cut, 4 million people losing Medicare Advantage and 15 percent of hospitals and nursing homes not accepting Medicare patients. The President’s plan has a dramatic impact on today’s seniors, people 55 years of age and older.” – Mitt Romney
To View This Press Release Online, Click Here:
Press Availability
Greer, SC
August 16, 2012
Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney
MITT ROMNEY: “First, with regards to seniors, those are people who are today 55 years of age and older, today’s seniors if you will. My plan presents no change. The plan stays the same. No adjustments, no changes, no savings. The President’s plan cuts Medicare, by $716 billion, cut. In addition, the trustees of Medicare estimate that approximately 4 million people will lose their coverage under Medicare Advantage. This is the plan they’ve chosen that shows they prefer some 4 million current seniors will lose their Medicare Advantage plan. And finally, the Medicare actuary estimates that 15 percent of hospitals and nursing homes will stop taking Medicare patients. So this is the President’s plan: $716 billion cut, 4 million people losing Medicare Advantage and 15 percent of hospitals and nursing homes not accepting Medicare patients. The President’s plan has a dramatic impact on today’s seniors, people 55 years of age and older. Now, there’s another topic which I will call it the next generation, the generation after today’s seniors, generations after today’s seniors. And under the President’s plan, this goes bankrupt. The Medicare trustees have notified the President that the plan will go bankrupt, Medicare Part A, in approximately 12 years. Under the plan that I’ve proposed, it is solvent. So the differences in our Medicare prospective could not be more stark and dramatic. And I think as the seniors in America understand what the President’s plan is doing to Medicare, they’re going to find it unacceptable and we’re going to get a lot of support from people who understand that Medicare should be protected for current seniors as well as for the next generation.”

RELEASE from Obama for America

For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 16, 2012  
Contact: Obama for America Press

WHITEBOARD: The Truth On Medicare

CHICAGO -- Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, a whiteboard presentation can’t change that he’s got his facts wrong on Medicare – so Obama for America’s Truth Team is releasing a whiteboard of its own to set the record straight. The President has extended the life of the program by nearly a decade. If Romney had his way, it would run out of money by 2016.  The President’s health care law eliminates insurance company subsidies, and cracks down on waste and fraud in Medicare – saving  $716 billion – and doesn’t cut a single guaranteed Medicare benefit. Congressman Ryan included the same savings in his budget, which Romney called ‘marvelous’ and said he’d sign into law.

But it makes sense that Romney wouldn’t want to tell the truth: the Romney-Ryan budget eliminates the guarantee of Medicare and instead provides people with a voucher to buy health care. In fact, a voucher plan authored by Paul Ryan and endorsed by Romney would cost future retirees an additional $6,400.

more on this subject...
ICYMI from Romney for President

August 16, 2012
“The President was talking about Medicare yesterday ... What he probably did not mention yesterday is that when passed his signature healthcare achievement, Obamacare, he raided $716 billion from Medicare paid for Obamacare. This will lead to fewer services for seniors. President Obama’s campaign calls this an achievement. You think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare is an achievement? Neither do I.” –Paul Ryan
North Canton, OH
August 16, 2012
Click Here To Watch Paul Ryan
PAUL RYAN: “And so, President Obama has run out of ideas. That’s why his campaign is based on frustration and anger. That’s why he’s not coming with new ideas. He’s giving us more of the same and he’s going to resort to distortion. He’s going to resort to fear and smear. The President was talking about Medicare yesterday. I’m excited about this. This is a debate we want to have. This is a debate we need to have. And this is a debate we we’re going to win. What he probably did not mention yesterday is that when passed his signature healthcare achievement, Obamacare, he raided $716 billion from Medicare paid for Obamacare. This will lead to fewer services for seniors. President Obama’s campaign calls this an achievement. You think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare is an achievement? Neither do I. Next time you get your pay stub, take a look at the line that says payroll taxes, FICA. Those payroll taxes that come out of our paychecks are designed for two programs and two programs alone: Medicare and Social Security. But now, because of Obamacare, it’s funding Obamacare as well. It’s wrong. The president knows this. He can’t defend this. And that’s the problem. He can’t defend his record. He didn’t change his tune, he didn’t compromise, he didn’t reach across the aisle, and that’s why he’s running this kind of campaign of frustration and anger. This election presents so many clear contrasts. One of those contrasts is this: Mitt Romney and I will protect and strengthen Medicare, leave it intact for our current seniors, and save it for the next generation.”

PRESS RELEASE from American Seniors Association

August 16, 2012

Contact: Phil Kent, American Seniors Association
OR Randy Lewis

American Seniors Critical of Obama Medicare Cuts
Politicians, Media should not assume seniors favor Medicare status quo

ATLANTA, GA - American Seniors Association, the nation's fastest growing senior's advocacy today re-stated its criticism of President Obama's $700 billion cuts to Medicare and his continuing resistance to innovative reforms that would make the program financially secure and sustainable for generations of seniors to come.

"President Obama's Medicare cuts and his reductions in reimbursements to doctors have done more to destabilize Medicare than any other Presidential action in the history of the program," said Phil Kent, President and CEO of American Seniors Association. "For him to be critical of the Romney/Ryan proposal which stabilizes the program for existing and rising seniors while developing financially sound alternatives for younger populations is reckless and cynical."

American Seniors has long supported the bi-partisan Ryan-Wyden premium support model proposed by U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Under the Ryan-Wyden premium support model, seniors would be able to pick from an array of private insurance options similar to the benefit choices made in the private sector. These plans would be subsidized by a defined contribution, roughly equal to what the government now spends per person. This $15,000 subsidy would grow over time, but seniors who want more expensive plans would still be allowed to do so by paying with personal funds.

"There is no question that Medicare needs to be modernized and reformed," said Kent. "But the reforms must include choices and options that allow the nation's seniors to choose the plans that fit their individual needs and finances. Giant government one-size-fits-all programs are dinosaurs in an age of individual choice and mass customization."

Kent also cautioned political elites and the media not to assume that all or most seniors follow a single leadership on the issues of Medicare and Social Security. And, he especially cautioned them to not believe that large Washington-based "retirement" organizations fully represent or speak for a large and diverse senior population.

"America's seniors are intelligent, thoughtful, independent and largely conservative," said Kent. "They know that Medicare is at risk and they want elected officials that are proposing thoughtful and creative alternatives. The Romney/Ryan proposal is a responsible and indicates the type of leadership that American seniors admire and support. "

ABOUT AMERICAN SENIORS ASSOCIATION The American Seniors Association is the new voice of America's seniors with more than 13 million members and growing. ASA is committed to making sure that America's seniors have the choices, information, and services they need to live healthier, wealthier lives. To learn more, visit


MEMO from the Republican National Convention


FROM: RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer @seanspicer

TO: Interested Parties

RE: Weekend Messaging Memo: GOP on Medicare Offense

Over the last week, you've seen Republicans on offense on Medicare, putting President Obama and the Democrats on desperate defense.

Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan have outlined their plan to protect Medicare for seniors and those near retirement and to strengthen Medicare for future generations. The Democrats, meanwhile, have fallen back to typical tactics: demagogue the issue, distort the Republican position, and attempt to scare seniors.

But it's not working. That's because President Obama is the only president who took over $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare. (In this 2009 interview, he was even proud of it.) Obama-Biden is the only ticket without a plan to save Medicare. With no plan, they let Medicare go bankrupt in twelve years, which will mean either reduced benefits or higher taxes.

In contrast, the Romney plan will protect Medicare for today's seniors. And by strengthening the program for those under 55, Romney and Ryan will keep Medicare solvent into the future.

The focus on Medicare further exposes the president's hypocrisy and reminds voters of his many broken promisesHe knows there's a problem; he wrote about it in his 2006 book. In a 2008 debate, he said he wanted to pursue reform in his first term as president. Yet, four years later, he still has no plan. He only cares about Medicare if he can demagogue the issue.

The president has no credibility on the issue, and as such, he has no ground to stand on in this debate. (Watch CNN's Wolf Blitzer expose DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Medicare distortions.)

As is the case on nearly every issue--the economy, jobs, the deficit, ethics--there is a wide gulf between President Obama's rhetoric and his record.

So it's no surprise the president has been avoiding the press lately. As I pointed out in a Tuesday memo, President Obama has not taken questions from the White House press corps in over eight weeks. I noted 10 pressing questions on which the American people deserve answers, and Medicare is at the top of the list:

1) Why did you cut $716 billion from Medicare?

2) Do you condemn the Obama SuperPAC's desperate and despicable ad campaign?

3) How do you explain the July increase in unemployment and slowing GDP growth?

4) Why is your plate too full for your own Jobs Council?

5) Did you approve of David Plouffe's profiting from a sponsor of terrorism?

6) Can you explain to business owners your "You didn't build that" comment?

7) Do you condone your staff using personal email accounts to conduct government business?

8) Why didn't you stop the restructuring of Solyndra's loan?

9) Why did you invoke executive privilege on the Fast and Furious scandal?

10) Can you reconcile the conflicting responses to national security leaks?

And after Joe Biden's campaign stops this week, we have a few more questions. (We'd probably have even more if Vice President Biden's staff had not edited the press pool report.)

It's not as though the president doesn't have time for press. He's done recent interviews with Top 40 radio, People magazine, and Entertainment Tonight. It makes you wonder if he's running for a second term or a spot on Dancing with the Stars.

But more to the point: A president doing Entertainment Tonight--and avoiding the White House press--is not a president who thinks he's winning the Medicare debate.