The Romney/Ryan campaign continues to implode as GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan received loud and continuous boos for suggesting repeal of Obamacare at a senior citizens’ event on Friday.
Paul Ryan, speaking at an AARP event in New Orleans, started attracting choruses of boos when he turned the subject to Medicare and Obamacare:
Ryan: The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare…
Audience: Major boos
Ryan: …because it represents the worst of both worlds. I had a feeling there’d be a mixed reaction, so let’s get into it. It weakens Medicare for today’s seniors and puts it at risk for the next generation.
Audience: More Boos
Ryan: First, it funnels $716 billion dollars out of Medicare to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for.
Audience: Loud Boos
Ryan’s being duplicitous: the $716 billion figure is not cut from seniors’ benefits; it results from a reduced rate of growth in the payment rates made to health care providers. Ironically, the Romney/Ryan plan WOULD directly cut seniors’ health benefits, by giving them a fixed amount to seek out their own private insurance. Currently, private health insurance plans have 25% higher health care costs than the rate Medicare pays to physicians. So, as insurance costs continue to mushroom, seniors would be left struggling to make up the difference in cost between the government voucher and actual health care costs as they age.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services released a report today that said Obamacare (aka The Affordable Care Act) will save each Medicare recipient $5,000-$18,000 over a 12-year period.
The encounter continues:
Ryan: The law turned Medicare into a piggy bank for Obamacare.
Reducing fraud, waste, and slowing the rise in rates paid to physicians is hardly stealing from a piggybank. However, Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal WOULD cut Medicaid by one-third by 2022, according to economists at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Essentially, Ryan is sticking his hand in the piggybank that funds healthcare for needy children, disabled people, and the very poor to fund more tax cuts for the rich.In fact, Ryan’s overall budget would cut taxes considerably for the rich, while raising taxes slightly on the poor.
Ryan: You see, Medicare’s going bankrupt. Everyone understands this.
Audience: Boos. Someone shouts: You’re wrong!
“Going bankrupt” means Medicare would be spending more than it’s taking in, it doesn’t mean that the program would be defunct. In addition, only Medicare Part A (hospital visits, nursing care) would have a shortfall in about twelve years; the fund for doctors’ visits is separate. And, most importantly, Medicare Part A “going bankrupt” is a perennial problem, and not something Obama did. From the Washington Post fact-checker: The Part A fund has from its inception been on the brink of going “broke.” A report by the Congressional Research Service shows that in 1970 experts predicted that Medicare would be “broke” in 1972.
All that we need to “fix” Medicare is for the the wealthy to pay a little more. Rolling back the Bush tax cuts for incomes over $250,000 would help solve the future Medicare shortfall and reduce the deficit. The New York Times reports that if the Bush tax cuts “expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels.”
Here’s the video where Ryan gets repeatedly booed by retirees: