In Florida, Obama talks Medicare

President Barack Obama promised to fight GOP efforts to "privatize" the health insurance program for senior citizens, charging that the plan advanced by Republican nominee Mitt Romney would cost seniors more.

Los Angeles Times: What To Expect If President Obama Wins Second Term
White House aides have indicated that Obama would try for a deal resembling the "grand bargain" he unsuccessfully sought last year with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). That would involve congressional Republicans agreeing to accept some higher taxes and Democrats accepting new restraints on the government's big entitlement programs, primarily Medicare. Obama's aides concede that the possibility of that happening would depend on how Republicans interpreted an Obama victory in November, whether it would cause them to compromise with Obama or fight even harder (Parsons, Hennessey and Lauter, 9/9).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Vows To Fight 'Privatizations'
Campaigning in a state that has long drawn retirees, President Barack Obama on Saturday promised to fight the privatization of Medicare and Social Security, the popular health and retirement programs for seniors. In making the vow, Mr. Obama appeared to be implying that his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, supports Social Security privatization, which he doesn't. Mr. Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, has been a leading proponent of privatization-;that is, of allowing workers divert some Social Security tax payments into privately owned accounts (Meckler, 9/8).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Charges That GOP Budget Plans Don't Add Up
He also plans to talk about Medicare and Medicaid, government health programs that both benefit seniors. In his interview with Pelley, Obama said he is willing to "make some adjustments" to the programs. "But the way to do that is to keep healthcare costs low, it's not to voucherize programs so that suddenly seniors are the ones who are finding their expenses much higher," he said (Parsons, 9/9).

The Hill: Obama: Romney Plan For Medicare Would Cost Seniors 'Thousands'
President Obama on Sunday turned his attention to Medicare, telling voters in Florida that Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan's plans to reform the program would mean higher costs on seniors and more profits for insurance companies. Obama cited a new study from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal advocacy group with ties to the administration, claiming that the GOP ticket's plans for Medicare mean "would mean as much as $16 billion to $26 billion in new profits for insurance companies." "Your costs would rise by the thousands and the insurance companies' profits would rise by the billions," said the president at a rally at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne (Mali, 9/9).

Fox News: Obama Launches Medicare Attack, Bypassing Unemployment News
President Obama resumed his attack Sunday on the Romney-Ryan plan to save Medicare, this time referring to a study that he said shows skyrocketing costs for future recipients and further distancing himself from the dismal unemployment report released last week. The attack marks the second straight day that the president has gone after the GOP plan, after the August unemployment report released Friday showed the U.S. unemployment rate dropped but only because more Americans quit their job search (9/9).

CBS: Obama Tells Floridians Future Of Medicare Is "At Stake" This Election
On the second day of his two-day bus tour through Florida, President Obama hit back against his Republican opponent's plan for Medicare, arguing that GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's plan would be a windfall for insurance companies. "They want to give money back to the insurance companies and put them in charge of Medicare," President Obama said during a campaign stop Sunday morning in Melbourne, Fla. He pointed to a recent study by Harvard Economics Professor David Cutler (who had also advised the president during the creation of the health care law) that says turning Medicare into a voucher program - where seniors receive a stipend to purchase health insurance through private insurance companies, which is Ryan's proposal - would immediately increase the cost to seniors by $768 per year (Caldwell, 9/9).

CNN: Medicare Takes Center Stage For Obama Campaign In Florida
 In the senior-heavy coastal city of Melbourne on Sunday, President Barack Obama, armed with a new study, continued to hammer the Republican plan to reform Medicare. He highlighted a Harvard analysis, conducted by a former Obama adviser, that found seniors would pay more under the "Romney-Ryan plan," compared to his plan, which he said will strengthen the entitlement program. Obama said GOP nominee Mitt Romney wants to "give money back to insurance companies and put them in charge of Medicare." "Their voucher plan for Medicare would bankrupt Medicare. Our plan strengthens Medicare," Obama told a crowd of 3,050 gathered at a sports and recreation center. "No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies." The focus on Medicare on Sunday was the latest effort by the president and his campaign to turn up the noise around the program and throw Romney off his message on jobs and the economy, especially important as the president continues to make a play for the senior vote ahead of the November election (9/9).

National Journal: Obama To Highlight Report Showing Rising Medicare Costs Under Romney; Rival Disputes
[President Barack] Obama is campaigning in Florida, a state where Medicare is an especially volatile political issue. The study that the president's campaign plans to spotlight -- according to an official in a media pool report -- is co-authored by Harvard economist David Cutler, an advisor to Obama during the last presidential campaign, and written for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal think tank. Cutler's analysis -- based on Rep. Paul Ryan's latest budget -- found that people who turn 65 now would end up paying, in today's dollars, about $11,000 in extra retirement costs, while people who are still 54 now would pay an extra $59,500. Seniors who qualify for Medicare in 2030 would see an increase of $124,600 (9/9).

Los Angeles Times: Bear Hugs And Medicare For Obama In Florida
President Obama spent much of the second day of his Florida bus trip talking about government healthcare for senior citizens as he campaigned in critical precincts of the state. But his policy critique may have been overshadowed, at least locally, by something rare: an exuberant embrace from a supporter at a pizza joint in Fort Pierce (Parsons, 9/9).

Meanwhile, the National Journal reports the Obama administration may be more flexible on Medicare adjustments than campaign rhetoric suggests -

National Journal: Obama More Flexible On Medicare Than Rhetoric Suggests
In his convention speech in Charlotte, President Obama vowed to block the Republican Medicare reform plan because "no American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies." But back in Washington, his Health and Human Services Department is launching a pilot program that would shift up to 2 million of the poorest and most-vulnerable seniors out of the federal Medicare program and into private health insurance plans overseen by the states. The administration has accepted applications from 18 states to participate in the program, which would give states money to purchase managed-care plans for people who are either disabled or poor enough to qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. HHS approved the first state plan, one for Massachusetts, last month (Sanger-Katz, 9/8).

Also in the news -

Kaiser Health News: Obama's Health Care Record
Medicare, Medicaid and the 2010 health law will continue to be hot topics this presidential campaign season. KHN has assembled this resource page to help track President Barack Obama's health policy record from his 2008 campaign positions to the enactment of the health law and his proposals to control federal health care spending (9/10).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from 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.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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