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Why Paul Ryan could be a drag in Florida (which Marco Rubio helps Romney win)

Paul Ryan was announced Saturday as Republican Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate, and conservatives are rejoicing.

But so are Democrats.

Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, is the architect of the Ryan budget plan that makes big changes to Medicare and Medicaid and could allow for some privatization of Social Security.

And that’s widely seen by Democrats and most analysts as a politically risky stance in Florida, a must-win state for Republicans, where retirees cast a suspicious eye on changes to the three major government-entitlement programs that pump about $96 billion yearly into the hands of the elderly, the infirm and the hospitals, doctors and other providers who give them direct care.

By picking Ryan, Romney shows he’s ready to fight for conservative changes to the liberal-legacy programs.

“We won't duck the tough issues...we will lead!” Ryan plans to say in his official acceptance speech in Norfolk, Virg., according to a copy of hir prepared remarks. “We won't blame others...we will take responsibility! We won't replace our founding principles...we will reapply them!”

Democrats are ready, too, for a battle of ideas.

“Paul Ryan wants to privatize Social Security. Looking forward to welcoming Mitt and his pick to Florida,” U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat, tweeted. “There’s nothing brave about cutting the programs that America’s seniors rely on for their health and financial security.”

In addition to talking more about Medicare and Republican plans to scale it back, Democrats won’t have to face their nemesis, Sen. Marco Rubio, on a statewide ticket for the second election in a row in Florida, a state that Rubio as a running-mate would have put more in play for Romney, polls showed.


At the heart of the controversy is Ryan’s proposal to turn Medicare in the future into a “premium support” system that would help seniors pay for private health insurance. It would essentially put more caps on future Medicare expenditures.

Democrats prefer to use the “V” word to describe it: Voucher. And they point to independent studies showing that the voucher, a predetermined amount of money that escalates at a predetermined rate over time, won’t keep pace with the inflation of medical costs.

Bottom line: Seniors would have to pay more out of pocket in the future than they’re paying now. Services could be cut. Right now, about 3.4 million are on Medicare in Florida, which receives about $25.2 billion from the program.

Ryan and the plan’s defenders point out that nothing’s free. Someone’s always paying something out of pocket for Medicare or any other government program. On its current path, Medicare isn’t sustainable. And more and more seniors are buying supplemental insurance to cover Medicare expenses now, making the system appear more voucher-like over time. Ryan said he’s trying to save, not end, Medicare.

Also, Ryan softened his plan, giving some future beneficiaries the choice of using the voucher or keeping a more traditional Medicare program. Ryan’s plan would restructure Medicare for those younger than 55. His Social Security plan would allow those younger than 55 to invest a part of their Social Security taxes in “personal retirement accounts” managed by the government, not private firms.

President Obama has called this “privatization” of Social Security, which it isn’t. But it does put Social Security on that path, and the line of attack helped sandbag President George W. Bush in 2005, when Ryan pushed him to adopt conservative reforms to Social Security, which provides about $49 billion in Florida and serves 3.7 million residents.

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Comments

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Laurie De Jesus

Tough to say, but picking on the elderly to balance the economy is a sin. This is almost like saying your on your way out so who gives a damn about you. Remember Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan you are not young forever, and with a history of heart disease as I have you cannot escape the inevitable no mater how healthy you try to keep yourself. I should know. So gentleman you are in for a big FIGHT and we will fight you all the way with our President who thinks of the elderly, middle class, and ill. Get your priorities in order.

Jay Charles

Say Goodbye to Social Security!

brad

The Republicans would rather support more war and space exploration than support our seniors. And it's not an entitlement - that is an insult to our seniors who worked very hard and paid for their benefits they earned and deserve! I for one would rather see foreign aid stop and war spending stopped and let the private sector invest in space exploration than see benefits our seniors paid for through out their entire working lives be attacked.

D

Absolute nonsense.

The two of you are still buying into the utopian vision that femented in your brains leading you to believe Obamacare would be a fail-safe way to deliver affordable healthcare to every American.

You clearly, are ignorant of two facts: there is going to be an expected deficit of as many as 150,000 doctors in America the next 15 years. Add to this that approximately eight out of 10 doctors are considering leaving medicine if Obamacare is not repealed and you have a public health crisis of third-world proportions.

There are now approximately 900,000 doctors in the U.S. If only 10% of physicians "go galt"-- our term for leaving medicine, the shortfall of doctors will be almost a quarter of a million.

You talk about the "inevitable". If Obamacare is passed, medicare will crash and if you need a hip replacement or kyphoplasty, the chances are formidable that you will not get it. You'll likely live a life with only Ibuprofen or piroxican to abate your pain, need a walker, a wheelchair, be bedridden and lose a great deal of ambulation.

YOUR president is clueless. Obamacare is an attempt to create a utopian society where the tacit implication is that if passed, everyone will have access to a better quality of life.

That is a dangerous fiction.

Ryan's plan is NOT a voucher plan and physicians know that. Seniors will have an account to pay for healthcare that they will pay for but depending on financial status, funds will be available to compensate for out-of-pocket expenses. Those patients with the greater financial burden will receive more supplemental funding than those who are more financially secure. EVERYONE will have access to health care with the additional benefit that you won't have tens of thousands of doctors
"going galt".

The proof that Obamacare is a dangerous social program and that critical facts are being withheld from the public is the administration's admission that implantation of this program will dangerously exacerbate a potentially severe physician shortage.

Wake up. You were had and instead of reading Huffpo try Shakespeare:

"The devil can quote scripture for his purpose."

D

Correction: "administration's admission" should read "the admissions failure to admit".

wycliffe

florida is now for democrats to loose

Tyler

Ryan is AWESOME. He's the most intelligent republican out there now, great pick mitt! Dont let anyone convince you otherwise- democrats are scared of Ryan. He represents fiscal RESPONSIBILITY and CUTTING government spending. Perfect debate

whasup

Well ... since the Democrats were going to use their traditional old, socialist "scare the seniors" tactic on Romney in the fall anyway, Romney should have picked Ryan ... as a way to put an articulate advocate for changing the system to save it.

The Democrats argue that "all is well" with Medicare went out the window with the huge future cuts to the program they put in Obamacare.

Now we are seeing that Obamacare, while providing some things some folks like, only really benefits a minority of folks while driving up insurance costs for everyone.

If the Romney camp handles this right--granted, a big "if" from the chuckleheads running his campaign--they will win the independent voters by pointing out that Obama's plans are only costing them more to pay the freight for others.

Hint to Romneyites: The central campaign questions should be

1) "Has your health insurance cost gone up or down under Obama?"

2) "Do you really think the flat broke, overspending federal government will be able to pay for Medicare as it is down the road, just because the hapless Obama keeps promising it?"

3) "Can we afford to hope that more change from Obama will help, when the changes the Obama made so far just keep killing hope?"

I'm not optimistic his campaign can focus on the real questions, but if they don't, their loss will be their own fault--a failure of technique by overpaid campaign "pros"!

PEter Schorsch

Compilation of analysis and reaction to Romney picking Ryan as his VP choice

bit.ly/MKE8p3

FLvotes

No wonder the right wing is happy with Ryan. They are dreaming that if victorious they will have another President in the background. Anyone remember the puppet GW Bush while the real president, VP Cheney, was calling all the shots.

Also curious that maybe he's the only one willing to serve this candidate. He will never be a good Presidential candidate while many others on the "short list", including Rubio, don't want to waste their creds on a losing campaign.

Romney has no conviction. Once again he has buckled to the small group of money men and media shills. Should be an election season.

Ken Allan

It is a shame how Republicans depend on misinformation to win elections.

Susan

Not only will Romney be unable to secure the Latino vote across the country, he will lose about 300,000 votes of supporters of the developmentally disabled in Florida. True that although Marco Rubio he supported most of Ryans plan, Rubio has a stellar record with families of special needs children. In case you're wondering, 14% of our K-12 population have developmental disabilities. That's over 237,000 students, multiply that by family and extended families, all of whom vote with that as a priority over all else. You can do the math. Obama won by less. Add in all those Latino on the fence and Florida is now officially Obama country, once again. Very disappointing.

amigay

I am a recent transplant to Wisconsin from South Florida and can tell you that outside his homebase of Janesville, Paul Ryan is not that popular so Wisconsin is not a given. Paul Ryan also took advantage of the very programs he's determined to end and make no mistake, Ryan is ambitious and doesn't care about the middle class. His sights are set much higher.

Let's protect the middle class

I am independent voter who really has been on the fence on who to vote for Obama or Rommey,the selection of Paul Ryan has really helped me make this desicion. Rommey has just proved he does not care for average Americans, he only cares for the rich, Paul Ryan is awful. His plan will destroy the safety net for our seniors. Thank Mr Rommey you just proved to me you have not concern for the middle class, I am voting for President Obama.

bobby

If the Ryan plan was balanced and in addition to changes in medicare and social security increased taxes on the rich and reduced the defense spending then most people would consider it a more fair and comprehensive plan. But alas it puts all the burden on the poor and middle class. Mitt just screw the pooch and will never win the election. Its unfortunate that there is no compromise because the country is in financial trouble.

Bouton

Yeah, like picking on public employees because we caused the economic crash that has our economy in such bad shape...the elderly and public employees...we caused it all
Not really, we are the ones who are being sent off with broken promises because big government allowed the greed heads to almost sink our economy and now they can't pay for it...since when does keeping your promise to an underpaid worker or to the elderly matter, eh?

Denise DeMoulin

I'm very afraid. So many politicians want to balance the budget by cuts to the programs keeping people alive, and educating our children. Life will go on for the rich, their kids will continue to attend their private fully funded schools, while the poor will be crowded into schools that are already way too underfunded. Why in Heaven's name can the rich not see that they will continue to be rich even if thay pay a little more.

West FL Observer

Want to know how Ryan's plan will work. Call an insurance agent and get a quote for your health insurance. Plus if Romney/Ryan & the Tea Party win they will try to overturn the Affordable Healthcare Act - Obamacare. So there will be no controls on the cost of insurance. You will be at the mercy of those benevolent corporations - insurance companies. Feel comfortable yet?

You'll note that there are no defense spending cutbacks mentioned - so we assume they are sustainable budgets, whereas Social Security and Medicare aren't. No farm subsidy cuts. No oil industry cuts. It will be a feast for those special interests, while the rest of us starve.

Paul Buchanan

We absolutely need to address the spending issues, there is a major problem and it needs to be brought under control. What I am very bothered about is the continual direction of all tax cuts, all government funding toward the ultra wealthy.

I am not rich. I DO NEED HEALTHCARE.
I could lose my job tomorrow and be absolutely screwed.

What are the rest of us supposed to do?
I see the evidence that the ultra wealthy are wealthier than they HAVE EVER BEEN. SO, it's not that there isn't a ton of money out there, it's that it's not getting to the rest of us and if they are going to cut gov't spending (WHICH THEY HAVE TO) they need to cut it from Defense. Why do Blackwater and Halliburton need another billion in revenue?

Marco should jettison Rivera

Rivera is the reason Rubio didn't get picked.

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.

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