Heading into the one-day-delayed Republican National Convention in Tampa — in the state with the greatest share of Medicare recipients — presidential candidate Mitt Romney is targeting President Barack Obama with a familiar refrain.
In 2008, candidate Barack Obama attacked Senator John McCain for proposing “drastic cuts” to Medicare — “$882 billion worth,” a new Romney campaign TV ad says. As president, the narrator continues, Obama cut $700 billion from Medicare to pay for “Obama-care.”
“It ain’t right,” Obama is quoted as saying in October 2008.
“No, Mr. President, it ain’t right,” Romney’s ad says.
In the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Obama won in a bid to offer health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, Congress cut projected Medicare spending by $716 billion over a decade with reduced rates to hospitals, drug companies and insurers. Those reductions don’t affect the benefits elderly people are guaranteed under the program.
Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate and chairman of the House Budget Committee, has maintained that the changes will force one of every six hospitals and nursing homes to go out of business and end Medicare Advantage — an option that allows the elderly to buy coverage from private insurers — for 4 million seniors. He also has criticized the Independent Advisory Payment Board, a panel created by the new law, as “bureaucrats in charge of Medicare who are required to cut Medicare in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors.”
Crossroads GPS, the committee co-founded by Bush strategist Karl Rove, also is attacking Senator Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat seeking re-election this year, on the same theme.
“Medicare should not be used as a piggy-bank for Obama-care,” Ryan has told an audience of retirees at a sprawling Florida retirement community, The Villages, standing in front of a banner that read “Protect & Strengthen Medicare.”
Ryan, whose own Medicare plan in Congress proposed maintaining the $716 billion cut, has said he would join Romney in restoring that money. Romney vows to repeal the president’s health-care law.