Obama Attacks Romney on Medicare `Vouchers’ in Florida TV Ad

Photograph by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Mayer Kotlarsky, owner of The Village Pharmacy store, speaks with Kay Stein who has questions about the Medicare Drug Plan in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign began airing a television ad in Florida this morning that criticizes Republican opponent Mitt Romney on Medicare.

“We’re not going to turn Medicare into a voucher,” Obama, dressed in shirtsleeves, is shown saying to two older couples over a meal at a café in Cocoa, located on Florida’s “Space Coast” east of Orlando. Obama visited Cocoa on Sept. 9.

“This is all part of keeping a commitment and a pledge to your generation but also to future generations,” Obama says.

“Voucher” is how Obama and Democrats describe a proposal from Romney’s vice-presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, that would overhaul Medicare as a “premium support” system in which beneficiaries get a fixed payment from the government for their insurance.

Romney has attacked Obama’s 2010 health-care law for $716 billion in Medicare cost savings it anticipates from scaling back payments to hospitals and other providers.

Florida, with 29 electoral votes at stake, is the biggest of the nine states where Obama and Romney have been spending most of their time and campaign resources. About 22.3 percent of Florida’s voting-age population was age 65 or older in 2011, the highest in the nation, according to a Census Bureau estimate. Older voters have higher rates of turnout in elections than younger voters.

Obama’s Medicare ad first appeared on Orlando’s NBC affiliate this morning, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG. The Central Florida region along Interstate 4 from Tampa to Orlando, Cocoa and Daytona Beach is the heart of a swing-voting electorate critical to victory there.

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