Presidential campaign keeps focus on Medicare

Published on August 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM · No Comments

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his running-mate pick Paul Ryan are taking their Medicare message to New Hampshire today. Meanwhile, President Obama blasts the Republican ticket on its Medicare plan.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Romney And Ryan To Hold Town Hall Meeting With NH Voters To Explain Medicare Plans
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are ready to face New Hampshire voters and answer their questions, especially about the Republican plan for Medicare that has left some seniors skittish. Romney and Ryan on Monday will try to explain to voters -; particularly seniors, who reliably cast ballots -; that their proposal to offer a private alternative to Medicare would not affect anyone over age 55. Some 14 percent of New Hampshire residents are over the age of 65, and this state, which holds the nation's first presidential primary, is known for its voters' sharp questioning of candidates during such town hall-style events (8/20).

The Hill: Romney Campaign Keeping Debate Over Medicare On Center Stage
It's supposed to be the Democrats' signature issue, but Medicare has risen to the forefront of this year's presidential race largely because Mitt Romney's campaign has put it there. On the Sunday political shows, surrogates for the GOP presidential hopeful amplified their attacks on President Obama's Medicare plans, saying the Democrats' reforms will gut the popular seniors program leaving it up to Republicans to save it. That twist on the usual Washington refrain – Democrats for decades have accused Republicans of wanting to dismantle Medicare – combined with the aggressive nature of the GOP's messaging campaign, all but ensure that the issue will remain in the headlines in the run up to election day (Lillis and Muñoz, 8/19).

The Hill: Romney Camp: Obama Cuts Forcing Some Seniors Out Of Medicare
Top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom on Sunday defended the campaign's claims that President Obama "raided" billions from Medicare to fund his healthcare reforms and argued that some seniors were being forced to look elsewhere for coverage because of the cuts. "In order the pay for 'ObamaCare,' he raided the Medicare piggy bank, took $700 billion out of the Medicare program and shifted it to ObamaCare [and] that's wrong," Fehrnstrom said on CNN's "State of the Union" (Muñoz, 8/19).

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan Makes Case For Medicare Overhaul
The Romney-Ryan Medicare plan isn't just political rhetoric, Paul Ryan said Saturday. It is a promise to his mother. "I want to introduce you to my mom, Betty. She's why I'm here," Mr. Ryan told the senior-dominated crowd that filled the town square of this sprawling retirement community. At the end of a week that saw both presidential campaigns argue that their opponents would gut Medicare, the Republican vice-presidential candidate came to this GOP stronghold to make a personal pitch for his vision for the health-care program for the elderly and disabled (Nelson, 8/18).

Los Angeles Times: Paul Ryan Warns Florida Seniors Of Medicare Rationing
Diving deeper into the Medicare fight, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul D. Ryan warned seniors Saturday that a key cost-control measure in President Obama's healthcare law would lead to rationing of their medical care (West, 8/18).

National Journal: Paul Ryan Makes An Emotional Pitch For Medicare Plan In Florida
In front of thousands of Florida seniors, Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan made a highly emotional appeal for his Medicare reforms and slammed a 15-member board charged with slowing the cost growth of the popular entitlement program. Ryan had some help from his mother, 78-year-old Betty Douglas, a part-time Florida resident who appeared on stage with him as he began his speech and was the center of the argument he made that Republicans are trying to keep Medicare solvent for future generations (Kaplan, 8/18).

Reuters: Ryan Puts Personal Spin On Medicare Debate
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on Saturday put a personal spin on the debate over Medicare, bringing his 78-year-old mother on stage at a speech to seniors in Florida where he vowed to safeguard the health insurance program for the elderly. Under attack by Democrats for his budget cost-cutting plan that proposes a major transformation in how Medicare works, Ryan has gone on the offensive, charging that President Barack Obama would take billions from Medicare to pay for his 2010 health care reform law (Selyukh, 8/18).

The New York Times: Both Campaigns Seize Role Of Medicare Defender 
Mr. Ryan, who has proposed a controversial voucher program for Medicare, accused Mr. Obama of being the bigger threat because of savings wrung from the growth of spending in the program contained in the president's health care overhaul of 2010. ... President Obama, campaigning in New Hampshire on Saturday, dismissed the Romney campaign's tactics on Medicare, saying that it was Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan who threatened the program. "Now you think they'd avoid talking about Medicare, considering both of them have proposed to voucherize the Medicare system," Mr. Obama said. "They want seniors to get a voucher to buy their own insurance, which would force seniors to pay an additional $6,400 for their health care." (Gabriel and Cooper, 8/18).

The Washington Post: Obama Slams Romney, Ryan On Tax Rates, Medicare In Stops In New Hampshire
Obama said that rather than focus on their economic plans, Romney and Ryan have tried to change the subject, concentrating instead on Medicare. ... "But I guess they figure the best defense is to try to go on offense," Obama said, adding that the Romney-Ryan plan undoes the Medicare guarantee. "So here is the bottom line: My plan saves money in Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste and insurance company subsidies. And their plan makes seniors pay more so they can give another tax cut to millionaires and billionaires" (Henderson, 8/18). 

Los Angeles Times: Obama Tees Off On Ryan's Tax And Medicare Proposals
President Obama took aim at Rep. Paul D. Ryan's tax proposals Saturday, slamming the Republican vice presidential candidate for a 2010 budget plan that he said would have eliminated almost all federal taxes for wealthy investors like his running mate, Mitt Romney. In a campaign marked by growing vitriol, Obama also accused his opponents of being dishonest in the debate over Medicare, the government health plan for seniors and the disabled (Parsons, 8/18).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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