President Obama lit into his Republican rivals over Medicare on Wednesday, repeating the charge that Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan “ends Medicare as we know it.”
“I think they know their plan is not very popular,” Obama said. “You can tell that because they are being dishonest about my plan — especially when it comes to Medicare.”
Romney has attacked Obama in ads and speeches for including $716 billion in cuts to Medicare in the Affordable Care Act. Romney promised to restore the spending this week, even though his own running mate included the same savings in the House Republican budget he wrote.
Obama said he “strengthened” Medicare, noting that the savings came from subsidies to insurance companies and hospitals, not from retirees. He added that the ACA used some of the savings to fund additional benefits for seniors, including an end to the “doughnut hole” on prescription drug costs and an expansion of preventive care.
“My plan reduces the cost of Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste and subsidies to insurance companies,” Obama said. “Their plan makes seniors pay more so they can give another tax cut to millionaires and billionaires.”
Obama directed his attacks at Ryan’s original Medicare plan, not the more vague plan now espoused by the Romney-Ryan ticket that would keep some traditional Medicare options. Ryan’s plan would eliminate Medicare’s current structure in favor of vouchers for private insurance.
“Because the voucher would not keep up with costs, the plan offered by Gov. Romney’s running mate would force seniors to pay an extra $6,400 per year — and I assume they don’t have it,” Obama said.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.