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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Romney's Latest Response To Obama's Medicare Attacks Uses Obama's 2008 Attack Against McCain

By Susan Duclos

After the release from Obama's campaign of their second attack ad against Romney accusing him of wanting to gut Medicare, Team Romney pushes back with an ad titled "It Ain't Right" using Barack Obama's own words from 2008, "Senator McCain would pay for part of his plan by making drastic cuts in Medicare, $882 billion worth. I don’t think that’s right. In fact, it ain't right."

Romney's ad then goes on to state "As president, Barack Obama cut $700 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare."

[WATCH]- "It Ain't Right"

In 2008, Candidate Obama attacked John McCain for proposing cuts to Medicare. As president, Barack Obama cut Medicare by $716 billion to pay for Obamacare. Take it from Candidate Obama, "It ain't right."

 For those still insisting that Obama didn't gut Medicare because the $716 billion he uses to fund Obamacare technically doesn't come directly from Medicare benefits, what they generally neglect to say is that it does come from future spending  in the Medicare program, mostly by reducing payments to hospitals, doctors and other providers by 15 percent, and eventually 40 percent, who in turn have already stopped taking new Medicare patients stating the reason as " every time we treat them we have to dig into our wallets. What kind of business model is that?

Another makes it clear, in the video below, towards the end, that when Obama's cuts hit, he will not provide any care to Medicare patients rather than provide care of a lesser quality which he would be forced to do otherwise.


Another $156 billion would be cut from Medicare Advantage plans, which seniors purchase to obtain coverage for services not provided by basic Medicare.

All to fund Obamacare, which in a November 2009 ABC News interview Obama admitted one-third of the funding for Obamacare comes from the upcoming Medicare cuts and goes further to vow that he would veto any attempt by Congress to stop those Medicare cuts.

[WATCH] - Obama 2009:

Quick breakdown of Obama's raid of Medicare using a recent CBO report:

According to the CBO, the payment cuts in Medicare include:
  • A $260 billion payment cut for hospital services.
  • A $39 billion payment cut for skilled nursing services.
  • A $17 billion payment cut for hospice services.
  • A $66 billion payment cut for home health services.
  • A $33 billion payment cut for all other services.
  • A $156 billion cut in payment rates in Medicare Advantage (MA); $156 billion is before considering interactions with other provisions. The House Ways and Means Committee was able to include interactions with other provisions, estimating the cuts to MA to be even higher, coming in at $308 billion.
  • $56 billion in cuts for disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments.* DSH payments go to hospitals that serve a large number of low-income patients.
  • $114 billion in other provisions pertaining to Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP* (does not include coverage-related provisions).
*Subtract $25 billion total between DSH payments and other provisions for spending that was cut from Medicaid and CHIP.

In total, Obamacare raids Medicare by $716 billion from 2013 to 2022. Despite Medicare facing a 75-year unfunded obligation of $37 trillion, Obamacare uses the savings from the cuts to pay for other provisions in Obamacare, not to help shore up Medicare’s finances.

The impact of these cuts will be detrimental to seniors’ access to care. The Medicare trustees 2012 report concludes that these lower Medicare payment rates will cause an estimated 15 percent of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies to operate at a loss by 2019, 25 percent to operate at a loss in 2030, and 40 percent by 2050. Operating at a loss means these facilities are likely to cut back their services to Medicare patients or close their doors, making it more difficult for seniors to access these services.

Barack Obama seems to think that because his administration has delayed the impact of Medicare cuts until after the presidential election that the American populace won't understand how he gutted Medicare until after the election.

As the GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has said " We want this debate. We need this debate. And we will win this debate."

[Update] Romney/Ryan Policy Memo rebutting Obama's ad lies:

Democrats have a new favorite talking point, that the Romney-Ryan Medicare Plan will increase out-of-pocket costs by $6,400 per senior. When they are being particularly careful, as in the President’s prepared remarks, they say a “similar plan” would increase costs by that much. When they are being particularly reckless, as in one liberal group’s recent “analysis,” they come up with estimated cost increases in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These claims are simply false. They do not sit somewhere along the whose-interpretation-should-we-believe spectrum over which so many fact-checkers obsess these days. Rather, they are false in the straightforward sense that they bear no relationship to reality. Perhaps up until now there has been insufficient attention paid to the details of the various proposals, and some people making the assertion were simply ill-informed. But as the future of Medicare takes on increasing importance in the political debate, and as Democrats not only double-down but actually go for broke on a strategy of scaring voters instead of offering proposals, there can be no excuse for making the claim.

Here Are The Facts:

The $6,400 Claim Refers To An Outdated 2011 Plan That Capped Support For Seniors. The figure comes from an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of the House Republican Budget Plan put forward in 2011 (for the FY2012 budget). Under that plan, the federal government would provide each senior with a set payment that began at $8,000 in 2022 and would then grow only with inflation. The incomplete CBO analysis of this proposal ignored the potential benefits of competition and suggested that, because health care costs would grow faster than inflation, the payments would cover less and less of the cost of an insurance plan over time and seniors would therefore have to pay more themselves.
  • The Wall Street Journal: One of President Obama's regular attacks on Paul Ryan's Medicare reform is that it would force seniors to pay $6,400 a year more for health care. But merely because he keeps repeating this doesn't mean it's in the same area code of accurate. The claim is based on a now out-of-date Congressional Budget Office estimate of the gap between the cost of health care a decade from now, in 2022, and the size of the House budget's premium-support subsidy for a typical 65-year-old in 2022. In other words, the $6,400 has no relevance for any senior today. None.
  • Obama went on to claim that those premium-support payments wouldn’t keep pace with rising health care costs, leaving seniors to bear more of the expense. … That was a valid criticism of last year’s proposal, which tied the growth of those premium subsidies to the growth of inflation. (The Congressional Budget Office said that seniors would pay more under that plan.) But this year’s Ryan proposal is more generous.
Current Proposals Are Dramatically Different, And Do Not Cap Premium Support Growth. House Republicans modified their plan, and the 2012 proposal (for the FY2013 budget) has neither the initial set payment level nor the inflation-capped growth rate of the 2011 plan; instead it establishes only a target level for total growth in the Medicare program that leaves numerous options on the table if the initial reforms prove unable to sufficiently control cost. The bipartisan Ryan-Wyden plan similarly sets no cap on premium support levels, and Governor Romney has proposed no cap on premium support in his own plan.

Instead, Romney And Ryan Support A “Competitive Bidding” Model. This means that any private insurer wishing to offer Medicare coverage would offer a bid for the year specifying the premium it would charge. Every insurer has an incentive to offer the lowest possible bid so as to make its plan attractive to seniors. Once the bids have been submitted, the premium support provided by the government is set relative to those bids and means-tested to ensure that every senior can afford to choose a plan offering coverage at least as good as today’s Medicare.
  • House FY2013 Plan: As opposed to pegging the growth rate to a predetermined formula, competitive bidding oers the ideal means of harnessing the power of choice and competition to control costs, while also securing guaranteed aordability for patients. As a backup, the per capita cost of this reformed program for seniors reaching eligibility after 2023 could not exceed nominal GDP growth plus 0.5 percent.
  • Ryan-Wyden Plan: The Medicare Exchange would provide seniors with a competitive marketplace where they could choose a plan the same way Members of Congress do. All plans, including the traditional fee-for-service option, would participate in an annual competitive bidding process to determine the dollar amount of the federal contribution seniors would use to purchase the coverage that best serves their medical needs. … Program growth would be determined by the competitive bidding process – with choice and competition forcing providers to reduce costs and improve quality for seniors.
  • Governor Romney: When it comes to Medicare, tomorrow’s seniors will have a choice among insurance providers, including traditional Medicare. As with Medicare Part D today, the private sector will compete to offer insurance coverage at the lowest possible price. Seniors will then receive government support to ensure they can afford that coverage. And with Medicare, like with Social Security, lower-income seniors will receive the most generous benefits.
  • The Wall Street Journal: But there are several key changes. Most of the substantive argument turns on how the premium supports should grow over time. Wyden-Ryan would dispose of a predetermined rate—GDP plus 1%, medical inflation, etc.—and instead use competitive bidding.

By Design, And By Definition, The Romney-Ryan Medicare Reform Will Not Leave Seniors To Pay More Than They Can Afford For Their Health Care.

While higher-income seniors in the future may be asked to pay more as a result of means testing, all seniors will be guaranteed sufficient support because the support is actually set based on what plans will cost. And as plans compete with each other to provide better care more efficiently, the growth in those costs will slow dramatically and place Medicare on a sustainable long-term footing.
 * * *
So the next time a Democrat says that the Romney-Ryan plan, or “a similar plan,” raises costs by $6,400 for seniors, remember: they either do not know what the Romney-Ryan proposal is, or they are lying. Regardless, they are wrong. Governor Romney has never proposed a cap on premium support growth that would leave seniors without the assistance they need to afford a plan with coverage at least as good as today’s Medicare.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan welcome a discussion over Medicare’s future. And they would welcome a decision by the President to join the debate and put forward a serious proposal of his own. But any discussion must focus on what each side actually proposes, not on strawmen that the President prefers to spend his time building up and knocking down.