The PJ Tatler

Ryan: 'Medicare Shouldn't Be a Piggybank for ObamaCare'

Appearing with his mother before an audience at The Villages retirement community in Florida, Rep. Paul Ryan pushed back against the Obama campaign’s criticisms of his Medicare reform proposals by turning the tables and skewering the president for taking money from Medicare to pay for the Affordable Care Act.

Medicare should not be used as a piggy bank for Obamacare. Medicare should be the promise that is made to our current seniors period, end of story.

Time and again, the congressman hammered home the fact that his vision for Medicare reform was to save the program, not destroy it as the Obama campaign has been charging. He also insisted that it was the president who was threatening the integrity of Medicare by using Medicare money to fund ObamaCare.

The Washington Post reports:

Ryan took the stage in The Villages with his mother Betty Ryan Douglas, 78, while Romney scheduled a series of fundraisers in Massachusetts. The Wisconsin congressman said he saw Medicare’s benefits firsthand as a child when his grandmother, with Alzheimer’s, moved in with his family. “My mom and I were her two primary caregivers,” Ryan said before shifting to his mother and the promise of Medicare for her.

“She planned her retirement around this promise,” Ryan said. “That’s a promise we have to keep.”

“It’s not just a program,” he added. “It’s what my mom relies on.”

He accused Obama of undermining Medicare by cutting billions from the program to devote to expanded coverage under his health care law, and asserted: “We want this debate. We need this debate. And we are going to win this debate.

Older Americans have often resisted changes in Medicare, the federal health care insurance program for people 65 and older, and for the disabled.

The Romney-Ryan ticket is betting that voters’ worries about federal deficits and the Democrats’ health care overhaul have opened the door for a robust debate on the solvency of Medicare, one of the government’s most popular and costliest programs.

Pointing to his mother standing next to him, Ryan offered some of the harshest criticism yet for Obama’s Medicare policies and how ObamaCare will affect current seniors.

She planned her retirement around this promise that the government made her because she paid her payroll taxes into this program which she had this promise with. That’s a promise we have to keep. Here is what the President won’t tell you about his Medicare plan, about Obamacare. The President raids $716 billion from the Medicare program to pay for the Obamacare program. What’s more, in addition to that, he puts a board of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in charge of Medicare who are required to cut Medicare in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors. You want to know what Medicare is saying about this? From Medicare officials themselves: one out of six of our hospitals and our nursing homes will go out of business as a result of this. Four million seniors are projected to lose their Medicare advantage plans that they enjoy and they chose today under this Obamacare plan. What’s worse is the President’s campaign calls this an achievement. Do you think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare is achievement? Do you think that empowering a board of bureaucrats to cut Medicare [is] an achievement? Neither do I.

The Obama administration will cut doctor and hospital reimbursements to achieve those $716 billion in savings, risking the economic viability of many health care companies, including clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. It will also make doctors extremely reluctant to take on any more Medicare patients. With a physician shortage already exacerbated by ObamaCare, some seniors may find it difficult to get any health care at all except from emergency rooms.

Ryan’s voucher plan has its own problems, but at least is a big step in the right direction. The strategy employed by the Romney campaign appears to offer a contrast between the two plans while blunting criticism from Democrats that the Ryan plan would “end Medicare as we know it.” Both plans would essentially accomplish that. If that point can be made, a debate about the future of Medicare can proceed without the demagoguery employed by the Obama campaign.

The more that people learn about the Ryan plan, the less successful the Democrats will be in scaring seniors about its provisions. If this strategy is able to at least neutralize the Medicare issue, Romney will have achieved exactly what he needs in order to win in November.