Mitt Romney seems to think Americans aged 54 and younger aren’t smart enough, or don’t see far enough into the future, to vote now to keep Medicare in their old age.
Under the Romney/Ryan plan, people born after 1957 would get a limited-value voucher to put toward the purchase of private insurance. The voucher won’t cover the full cost of care, which means you’d be stuck paying a growing part of your health care costs, which means you’d be more likely to forego screenings, treatments, and medications, and wind up even sicker.
See Romney smugly interrupt President Obama to reiterate that his privatization plan for Medicare only jeopardizes the health care of “future people:”
(Article continues after video:)
Obama: The essence of the plan is he would turn Medicare into a voucher program…
Moderator: And you don’t support that.
Obama: I don’t. And let me explain why.
Romney: [Interrupting] Again, that’s for future people…
Obama: I understand.
Romney: … not for current retirees.
Obama: So, [looks directly at T.V. audience] if you’re 54 or 55 you might want to listen, because this will affect you.
While Obama wants people to listen up, Romney actually said during the Medicare debate that people approaching retirement (whose benefits won’t change) could “stop listening” — as if being old means you’re so self-centered that you don’t care about your children’s and grandchildren’s futures, and beyond.
While on the subject of Medicare, one has to discuss Romney’s incredibly misleading accusation that Obama cut Medicare by $716 billion. For one, those cuts aren’t to benefits; for another, the Republican plan would do the same thing (cut a similar amount from provider reimbursements). Ahead of the debate, The New York Times summed up the facts well on Romney’s repeated false claim:
Mr. Romney’s claim that Mr. Obama has taken $716 billion from Medicare benefits to pay for the health care law has been widely debunked. The cuts would affect those providing health care, not beneficiaries. The health law, in fact, expanded Medicare benefits. Mr. Ryan included identical savings [cutting provider payments by $716 billion] in Republican budgets he passed in the House.
Maybe ending our social contract with seniors in 10 years or so doesn’t matter to you much. If so, perhaps you think Romney won the debate tonight.
I, for one, don’t think Mitt won any prize. I think he appears to have received enough coaching not to trip all over himself, so he fared better than people expected.
But, if you were looking for substance, Romney’s not your candidate. He said things that sounded nice, such as, with him, you’ll be “free to pursue your dreams,” or he’ll “get incomes up” and cut the deficit while cutting taxes for “middle income” Americans (who, according to Romney, earn up to $250,000 per year).
However, Romney has no explanation or plan for how he will achieve any of these rosy outcomes, outside of the ubiquitous “tax cuts” for “job creators,” a myth already proven false.
If you’re a liberal, you may still feel dissatisfied after this first sparring match. But Obama still has plenty of time to land more one-two punches, while Mitt finds himself more holes to dig.