Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's Medicare "kills Medicare"
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's Medicare "kills Medicare." Rating: False.
An email blast from a Democratic campaign committee resurrected this claim, which was ranked by left-leaning Politifact as the 2011 political "lie of the year." Other Democrats have hedged slightly, modifying their accusation to say Romney and Ryan would "end Medicare as we know it." The DNC Chairwoman has described the plan as a "death trap" for seniors, and a "tornado" tearing through nursing homes. This is hysteria, and bears no relation to reality. For the full facts on the dueling Medicare reform visions, read this piece. The basics: According to its own actuaries, Medicare is slated to become insolvent within 12 years. This would result in major cuts for current seniors, and the implosion of the program for future generations (who are still paying into it, under penalty of law). In other words, basic math will "end Medicare as we know it" soon, absent reform. Everyone acknowledges this hard reality, including the president. The Romney-Ryan solution is modeled on a bipartisan proposal co-authored by Paul Ryan and liberal Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. The plan grandfathers in all citizens 55 years old or older, guaranteeing no changes from current policy. For younger Americans, Medicare benefits would be paid out under a federal premium support program, as future seniors would choose among a menu of options. One of these options would remain the traditional fee-for-service Medicare model. The others would be private plans, competing for seniors' business. The Obama plan is quite different. The president transferred $700 Billion in Medicare cuts in order to partially fund his new Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." This maneuver is resulting in real cuts to current seniors. According to the federal Medicare accountants, it strips four million seniors out of the popular "Medicare Advantage" program, and cuts government reimbursements to care-givers and hospitals. Medicare's chief actuary estimated this could result in the closure of 1 in 6 hospitals that treat seniors. As for the future, long-term solvency of the program for future generations, the president has not proposed anything that even approaches the level of a meaningful plan.
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