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Obama's $700 billion Medicare-cut problem

A glimpse of the Mitt Romney campaign's pushback against President Obama's Mediscare plans surfaced Sunday morning on Face the Nation.

And Obama's spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter, did all the talking Republicans needed.

At issue is the fact that, while Romney running-mate Paul Ryan wants to transform and cut future Medicare expenditures by about $700 billion, President Obama's healthcare plan cuts $700 billion over a decade. Cutter might have stumbled when asked about it on Face the Nation.

"You know I heard Mitt Romney deride the $700 billion cuts in Medicare that the president achieved through health care reform," she said, noting the "savings" in ObamaCare.

Two words are key here: "cuts" and "achieved."

The 10 second clip starting reverberating in the conservative blogosphere. A headline from Townhall.com tells you all you need to know: Sorry Seniors: Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Calls Gutting of Medicare an Achievement.

Unmentioned by Townhall was that the Ryan plan could also cut as much money. In fact, one veresion of the Ryan plan passed in 2011 appears to copy the ObamaCare Medicare cuts dollar for dollar. Is that "gutting" the program, too? And unlike ObamaCare, the Ryan plan's changes could cut more services by decade's end because of the way it structures its "premium support" system, which Democrats call a voucher.

Still, Democrats might find it tougher to make an attack on the Ryan plan stick because ObamaCare isn't popular, either. And the argument that ObamaCare won't affect services is tough to swallow. Cutting reimbursement rates affects the businesses who provide Medicare services.

There is a big difference, though, in the thrust of the reductions bewteen Ryan and Obama's plans. ObamaCare specifically calls for no reductions in benefits (though, again, if you squeeze providers, benefits will be harder to receive) because it's essentially a defined benefit plan. Ryan calls for a defined contribution plan. And under Ryan's scenario, there's a good bet that the contribution won't be enough to cover health expenses that ObamaCare seeks to guarantee.

Comments

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SM  McMahon

Re Ryan / Romney budget:

I hope that you didn't require federally subsidized loans to attend college,and that your family won't need them, either, and that you have sufficient
assets to buy private health insurance when you are 80, because under the Ryan plan, that's what you'll have to do, and I'm sure it will be really affordable
individual coverage for old people, and if there is a fire at your house, I hope you intend to put it out yourself, and I am guessing you don't use the
interstate highway system, or fly anywhere, because you couldn't do that without the government created by the taxes that we, the people, pay.

Instead of joining the bandwagon of "personal freedom" versus government,perhaps you should make a list of the myriad ways in which you, and the rest of
society, benefit from the government's role in our lives. You know that little thing called the internet, which enabled you to post your views, developed out
of government supported research. In fact, most of high tech benefited enormously from government supported research in silicon valley in the 40s and
50s, you know, when real patriots were proud to pay taxes, and valued the government initiatives that improved all of their, and now our, lives. And I
hope you never get cancer, because you couldn't possibly accept treatment that might have been developed through research funded by the federal government.

The list goes on. Maybe you should consider living on a deserted island somewhere. Lots of personal liberty there.

whasup

Well ... SM, you're right. Some government spending sometimes does something worthwhile.

Your internet example is a good one. It was invented and developed by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

So why do you government-spending loving Democrats want to cut Defense spending so much.

Among the vast piles of federal government spending there are some veins of gold. But you folks would have us pay for whole mountain ranges in order to find a couple of valuable lodes.

Then, after the government spending develops the valuable thing, y'all want to just give it away to the private sector ... without the taxpayers getting a guaranteed cut of the revenue it generates.

If the taxpayers pay to develop something, through agencies or universities, the taxpayers should be guaranteed a direct cut of the revenue ... not some amorphous future revenue when y'all want to start taxing the profits of the folks who bring it to market ...

And taxing them, and us, at whatever high rates y'all feel is necessary to try to buy more mountain ranges we don't need.

But if you want to defend government investment that is most often little more than corporate cronyism--think Solantic--then by my guest.

Oh, and by the way, the only folks getting rich off of college subsidies are bloated university faculties and administrations ... not the students who come out with worthless degrees.

Mark Anderson

Whasup, it should be spelled what's up. That's what education can do for you.

V

Please tell the whole story. The Ryan/Romney plan makes no changes to Medicare for people 55 and older. It is a plan to save Medicare for the future and transform Medicare into the type of plan many privately insured people have.

ObamaCare takes $700 BILLION now. It is completely unrealistic to assume that benefits will be guaranteed. Provider reimbursement is going to be reduced which will discourage providers from seeing Medicare patients.

Most importantly, the Independent Payment Advisory Board will begin to determine who gets what services (i.e. rationing). The Board does not report to physicians or consumers, just to DHHS.

Note, Obamacare changes are happening. Medicare of old is no more.

BAC

The fact that Romney/Ryan campaign is courageously bringing "Entitlement Reform" front and center, is both bold and also dangerous. Historically, any Party proposing changes to Social Security, or Medicare were
met with electoral resistance. However, this maybe an
opportunity for the GOP to make some headway with the entitlement issues. Americans have waken up to the fact
that government has grown to the degree that it's assuming priority over the larger "private sector"(the true job creators). The American people have seen no sign of the "kitchen table economics" in this Administration. Had American's seen an attempt by the current White House to cut spending, then maybe the politics would be different. So it's only natural for us to take an honest look at the Romney/Ryan plan

Jack

"that you have sufficient
assets to buy private health insurance when you are 80"

I'm 30 and I save every year for things like that. Not my problem if others are too irresponsible.

Tom Tresh

What it does is to take 70 Billion a year (700 in ten years) in waste and Medicare Advantage payments for indsurance companies to manage Medicare for some and applying it to Medicare programs like closing Medicare D donut hole and other Medicare sevices.
This is the biggest lie the GOP has put out when they say it was taken away from Medicare.

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