Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have been going around the country telling seniors that they don't have to worry about the changes they will bring to Medicare and Medicaid, because these changes won't affect anyone older than 55.
Even given the fact that this seems like an odd argument to make for a policy initiative -- "Don't worry, we'll only screw your kids and grandkids" -- now come the claims from Romney's advisers that the policy as explained by the Romney/Ryan campaign lacks an important element.
Romney/Ryan supporters, perhaps wishing to have viable careers when this train wreck of a campaign is over, have begun telling some inconvenient truths about the Romney/Ryan Medicare/Medicaid plan.
Let's see if we can explain this in simple terms:
1. The Romney/Ryan campaign issued a memo reinforcing the Governor's desire to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. In the memo, he again falsely claims that Obama "cut $716 million from Medicare" -- money Romney promises to restore to the program by repealing the Affordable Care Act. (The non-partisan PolitiFact rated the claim that Obama "robbed" Medicare as "mostly false" but we will set that aside for the moment.)
2. By killing Obamacare, Romney/Ryan must be promising to spend that $716 million, which the bean-counters say would leave Medicare poised for insolvency in 2016, years before Romney/Ryan proposes to phase in the voucher system. This means Romney would have two options: find new Medicare cuts or taxes to extend the life of the program, or preside over its demise.
3. On Fox News Sunday, Romney adviser and former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie said, “There are other reforms as well. As you know Governor Romney supports increasing over time bringing the Medicare eligibility age in line with the Social Security retirement age.”
4. Logic dictates that raising the Medicare eligibility age is a benefit cut, and implementing the increase before 2016 would violate Romney’s pledge to leave the program unchanged for people between ages 55 and 65.
Gillespie is not Romney's only adviser who sees the truth in these numbers. According to Talking Points Memo:Avik Roy, an outside health care adviser to the Romney campaign, admits that committing to billions of dollars in higher Medicare spending in the near-term will make it difficult for Romney to achieve its separate goal of reducing overall federal spending to modern lows. But he notes that Romney could make up the difference elsewhere in the budget or, by “mak[ing] other changes to the Medicare program, such as increased means-testing, that don’t alter the program’s basic structure.”
Further means-testing of Medicare would amount to a benefit cut to current seniors. CURRENT seniors. Not people currently younger than 55. CURRENT seniors.
Added to the mix, TPM's Brian Beutler writes that these admissions rest on top of the fact that by repealing the Affordable Care Act, Romney/Ryan would wipe out new Medicare benefits included in the law. Repeal would result in higher payments to doctors and hospitals, and the restoration of overpayments to insurers participating in Medicare advantage. But for beneficiaries, it would re-open the Medicare prescription drug donut hole and eliminate coverage for preventive services and annual checkups that the ACA created.
So seniors? If you are so inclined to cut your own throats, who are we to try to dissuade you by telling you the truth.
Kids? You think that by voting for Romney/Ryan that mom and dad or granny and gramps are gonna go skating to the cemetery unharmed by changes in Medicare/Medicaid? Well, we suppose how you vote depends to a large degree on how much you love your parents and grandparents.
As for us, we prefer being told the truth. But we're goofy that way.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com