Ryan Blasts Affordable Care Act in Speech at Republican Convention
During a speech in which he accepted the nomination to be GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday criticized the cuts to the Medicare program under the federal health reform law, calling the law the "greatest threat" to Medicare, Politico reports.
Details of Speech
Speaking at the Republican National Convention, Ryan warned that the health reform law "came at the expense" of Medicare beneficiaries because the law "funneled" $716 billion away from Medicare (Haberkorn/Norman, Politico, 8/29).
Ryan reiterated a GOP promise to repeal the health reform law if Romney is elected (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 8/30). Ryan also said that a Romney-Ryan administration would protect and strengthen Medicare for future generations (Rutenberg, New York Times, 8/29). He said, "Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program and raiding it."
The issue of preserving Medicare is one in which Democrats typically have the favor. However, Ryan assured attendees that "our nation needs this debate," adding, "We want this debate. We will win this debate" (Tumulty, Washington Post, 8/30).
Ryan Avoids Discussing Own Plan
During his speech, Ryan repeatedly attacked President Obama for including $716 billion in cuts to Medicare in the health reform law, but failed to mention that his Medicare reform plan includes the same cuts, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
In addition, although Ryan said that the cuts would affect beneficiaries, the $716 billion in reductions would come in the form of lower payments to hospitals, insurers and other service providers (Alonso-Zaldivar/Gillum, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 8/30).
Democrats Respond, Attack Ryan's Plan
Democrats on Wednesday responded to GOP criticism over Medicare, as the Democratic National Committee ran a full-page advertisement in the Tampa Tribune and put up two digital billboards in Tampa, Fla., attacking Romney and Ryan on Medicare, The Hill's "Blog Briefing Room" reports.
The Tampa Tribune ad warns that Romney and Ryan "plan to end Medicare as we know it." Meanwhile, the billboards highlight Republicans' plans to transform Medicare into "a voucher plan" that will charge "seniors up to $6,400 more" (Cohn, "Blog Briefing Room," The Hill, 8/29).
DNC also teamed up with the Obama for America campaign on Wednesday to host a news conference featuring Democratic lawmakers and citizens who have benefitted from the health reform law. During the news conference, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, criticized Romney for his plan to restore the $716 billion in Medicare cuts, alleging that doing so would favor insurers instead of U.S. residents.
"The reality is their plan will hurt seniors on Medicare right now in the following ways: all seniors will now pay more because Mitt Romney wants to restore the overpayments that were being made to the private insurance companies," Van Hollen said. He estimated that Medicare beneficiaries would pay an additional $300 annually each over 10 years to restore the cuts. In addition, he said restoring the cuts would cause Medicare's trust fund to go insolvent eight years earlier (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 8/29).
Meanwhile, at a campaign stop near the University of Virginia on Wednesday, Obama responded to GOP criticism of the health reform law. Obama said Romney "calls my health care law ObamaCare," adding, "I call his plan 'Romney Doesn't Care'" (Madhani, USA Today, 8/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.