Romney, Ryan field Medicare question in first joint interview
August 12th, 2012
07:30 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney, Ryan field Medicare question in first joint interview

(CNN) – In their first joint interview as the 2012 Republican ticket, Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan on Sunday addressed questions about Ryan's Medicare proposal, which at least one critic says would "end Medicare as we know it" and others have speculated could present Romney electoral challenges in senior citizen-rich Florida.

Ryan, however, has said major changes are necessary to rein in levels of federal spending on the program which premium payments and payroll taxes cannot cover. He used a personal example to make the point in his Sunday interview.

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"My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida," he said on CBS. "Our point is we need to preserve their benefits, because government made promises to them that they've organized their retirements around."

"In order to make sure we can do that, you must reform it for those of us who are younger. And we think these reforms are good reforms. That have bipartisan origins. They started from the Clinton commission in the late '90s," he continued.

On Sunday, Romney campaign aide Brendan Buck said Ryan would campaign in central Florida next weekend, a rebuff to critics who said the vice presidential candidate was skipping Romney's stops in Florida this week to avoid questions about his Medicare proposals from senior citizens there.

Romney has not made Ryan's plan a part of his platform in the 2012 campaign, and in a set of campaign talking points obtained by CNN on Saturday, surrogates are reminded, "Of course they aren't going to have the same view on every issue."

A suggested answer to questions about how Ryan will play among independent voters read "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a bipartisan plan to strengthen Medicare by giving future seniors the choice between traditional Medicare and a variety of private plans."

In the interview, Romney turned the Medicare question into a criticism of President Barack Obama, repeating a line he uses on the campaign trail.

"There's only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare," he said. "What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it's there for current seniors."

The $716 billion figure appears to come from a Congressional Budget Office evaluation from July 24, which measured the impact of repealing the health care overhaul known as "Obamacare."

The report says that under the repeal measure, "Spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013-2022 period."

Those spending increases would be a result of more spending on hospital and medical insurance, offset by a decrease in prescription drug coverage.

The letter also notes that the projected $716 billion increase in Medicare spending if the measure is repealed does not signal a $716 billion decrease if the measure stays in place - which is Romney's argument.

"For various reasons discussed elsewhere in this document, the estimated budgetary effects of repealing the ACA...are not equivalent to an estimate of the budgetary effects of the ACA with the signs reversed," the report says.

Romney, in his remarks, stressed that his plan would ensure "No changes, by the way, for current seniors, or those nearing retirement."

"But looking for young people down the road and saying, 'We're going to give you a bigger choice.' In America, the nature of this country has been giving people more freedom, more choices. That's how we make Medicare work down the road," he continued.

Romney announced Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and a seven-term member of Congress from Wisconsin, as his vice presidential pick on Saturday at a campaign rally in Virginia.

CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report

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Filed under: 2012 VP Pick • Medicare • Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. artraveler

    I am sure that Ryan has refused his government healthcare and retirement since he should lead by example. Go and buy in the market just like everyone else. Take some of those tottering oldters in the House with you and see if they can find someone willing to write a policy.

    August 12, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  2. amlcpamaine

    Just look at what privatization did to the people in UK. They implemented it in the 90s and had to return to the public system because the BANKERS who took over the "private" accounts ripped everybody off. People didn't understand where their money went and the government ended up reinstating the safety net for the most needy. The government paid twice - once for the bankers to set up their "system" and again for the safety net because there was NO money left for basic living. Their system, like ours, was contributory (their people paid in % of wages for years) so the govt had no choice but to back it up. But the bankers ran with billions! Our system, like theirs, has BANKERS lobbying for privatization. Ask Paul Ryan who "consults" for his plan - yes, it's Goldman Sachs. Ask him who will step in to "manage" voucher accounts - yes, it's Wall St. Ask him whether his plan REQUIRES that 80% of revenue goes to services as the current (hated) ACA requires - no, they'd never agree to that because it doesn't let the BANKERS skim their profits from our pockets. These people are THIEVES

    August 12, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. fullclarity

    Perhaps Mitt and Paul could begin by having the same benefits available to most Americans - healthcare with a reasonable participation percentage, say 25 or 30% of the premium cost; retirement plans in which they contribute an equal share; no designated or special healthcare facilities - they can use the same hospitals as those available to the public; public transportation; motorcades go away; no free bottled water; no special physical facilities unavailable to the public; etc. If, indeed, they are serious about the budget, then let's see real proposals that affect them directly, not just Paul's mother in Florida.

    August 12, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  4. ohio voter

    a bigger choice? Oh what a slick way to phrase that! I am sure the romney ryan ticket will
    be full of these tricky little phrases to make voters think they are actually going to help their lives
    and not harm them--wake up-and remember what W left us--do not be stupid enough to
    vote for a replay.

    August 12, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  5. Karen

    Seniors- Don't believe anything this duo says about saving Medicare. They just want you to vote for them and then they will take away what they promised you! Flip R-money only cares about lining his own pocket with your money!

    August 12, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  6. MDNA = MaDge Not Applicable!

    To all you 20 somethings, find out how many pre-existing conditions your grand parents have/had, then choose half of them and then price an insurance policy for an 80 year old, having just 2 of those conditions.

    Then compare the annual cost to the $6,000 annual "voucher" the Ayn Rand('Selfishness is a Virtue') disciple, Paul Ryan wants to give you to buy your private insurance.

    Or if you just use the voucher to pay for your care, that will currently buy you about 2 days of hospitalization.

    Heads up, you might want to save about 400 bucks of the Ryan's $6,000 in a FSA, to buy a gun and one bullet.

    Just in case you exhaust your "voucher" and have to go to the GOP's "Plan B".

    August 12, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  7. David

    Anyone with good intuition can see right though these two men. Mitt Romney looks like some sort of used car salesman trying to fool you and Paul Ryan looks just plain seedy.

    August 12, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  8. Niko_in_Richmond

    And the lies begin....

    August 12, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  9. k.e harrington

    As a 50 y.o (lucky to be employed ) american I know for a fact that I am putting into a system, that I'm am really nervious about not being around when I become of age to retire. Rich or well off I'm not; but it is nice to dream, but I do live in the world of reality. I need proof that I will be able to collect from a system that I put into. Is that too much to ask for ?

    August 12, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  10. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The Romney/Ryan plan has nothing to do with strengthening Medicare, it is all about getting these funds and Social Security funds in the hands of banks and investment companies who would rob the participants of billions of dollars in management fees.

    August 12, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Let the lies begin! They're telling seniors don't worry... our plan won't screw you! It will screw your children and grandchildren... not a problem for you...

    These two fascists have no concern for anybody except the rich Republican fat-cats. Romney can't complete a sentence without lying and he's got his career politician Ryan singing harmony.

    August 13, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  12. J.V.Hodgson

    This $716bn "cost cut" is a typical Republican misquote as the the CBO said later repealing PPACA does ( Romney I'll do that day one) not "change the sign" the money is used elsewhere in a different way to support the same people only better.
    They might just be able to fool some older people, but if they do they will not fool those of us below 55 who will end up paying more and getting less when we get to 65. Live now pay later dont work!! as a solution.
    They are going to have to do a lot better than this as it will come up endlessly until the election.
    Again I get fed up with the duality and hypocrisy when the campaign says "of course they arent going to have the same view on every issue." Hello Romney said he supported the Ryan budget. The campaign quote is just opening the door to multiple flip flops.... I haven't heard a single cohesive policy statement from Romney himself that can be fully and properly evaluated... if he' d done that in his Bain days he would have been a) Skinned alive .b) Very unsuccessful. Whether or not it was based on outsourcing or business closures for profit to him and his investors.
    This is a very weak start to thier position response.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    August 13, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    A PS.A really unbalanced set of blog posts today
    10 total 6 Romney Ryan rah rah's 2 negative re obama /dems and 1 gifford and 1 Palin which then as she supportts Romney/Ryan = 7/10 for Republicans. Same trend over the last three days.
    By the way ad in the anchor shows and its the same this $716bn keeps getting trumpeted but it is never challenged by interviewers, and in these blogs its trumpeted out at least 4 times with only a passing paragraph of what the CBO actually said.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    August 13, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  14. JL. Taylor

    The republicans never wanted medicare to exist. Are we suprised that they would try to kill it.

    August 13, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  15. Donkey Party

    Seniors and the middle class will be paying trillions to cover Romney's proposed defense spending and extended tax cuts (corporate welfare) to the wealthy.

    August 13, 2012 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  16. missouri mule

    Romney has certainly made pts with neocons & t partiers, but there aren't enough of them to offset losses of centrists. mitt has ensured his loss in november.

    August 13, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  17. enuff

    Trying to continue to ride on Clinton's coat tails again I see. Why aren't they trying to use the 'success' of Bush? Don't they remember? Republicans tried to remove Clinton with impeachment? Now they are trying to say that he is one of them?

    August 13, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  18. enuff

    Republicans hated Clinton when he was in office... now they are claiming he is one of them. Why aren't they trying to run on their contibutions to Bush's "successes"?

    August 13, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  19. Charles Bukowski

    Only illegal aliens and the incompetent will vote for Obama. If you have the skills and will to succeed Romney is your guy. If you want someone to take your success and hand it to the unwiling vote for Obama.

    August 13, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  20. Brian

    It amuses me to hear The Messiah (Obama) and his Kool Aid drinkers criticizing Ryan and the GOP for their budgets, ideas, and BOLD leadership. Have the Democrats forgotten that they haven't even passed a budget in over 3 1/2 years? Have they forgotten that Obama has run up more debt than every single president in U.S. history ... at least $1.2 TRILLION per year!

    What do you really expect from a guy whose non-elected so-called job has been a "community organizer"? Is it really any wonder the Democrat Party doesn't want to talk about Obama's record?

    August 13, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  21. sandra barefoot

    in my opinion, we americans do not need insurance companies still being the middle man for our healthcare needs and cost.
    common sense dictates they are a buisness and are only out for big profits. i say get them out of the healthcare buisness altogether.they are a big part of the problem already.

    August 13, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  22. Republicans - "The Not Intended to Be Factually Accurate" Party

    "My mom is a Medicare Senior"?? So what!! Where did the Republican Party get THIS GUY?

    Only the GOP would think that the fact that they were biologically spawned from a "mother" is sufficient to innoculate themselves from the facts that they plan to take money from Grandma`s SocialSecurity check & give it to the Military Industrial Complex of Lockheed, Northrop, Boeing, General Dynamics, Blackwater, Haliburton, etc. as spoils of a pending war with Iran.

    Only they think that they can fool Americans AGAIN into voting against their own self interests to the point where "tax-cuts-for-job-creators-who-haven`t-created-jobs-over 10-years" could be successful. Robbing the poor & Middle class to further transfer wealth to the affluent. It`s time for the "Occupy" movement to join with the senior citizens, the women, the Latinos, and all other intelligent, compassionate people elsewhere to smackdown this GOP THROWBACK TEAM.

    August 13, 2012 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  23. bigfoot

    You take Social Security away fro me and you are going to need a firing squad to contain me. Not that you won't have those in Nazi-like fashion.

    August 13, 2012 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  24. babooph

    I noticed in Ryans"plan" HE did not lose his govt healthcare to an 8000$ "voucher"-in his neo feudal utopia,the peasants get treated very different.I t does vary from the old feudalism ,where the noble class fought the wars-now chicken hawks send the peasants out for that honor...

    August 13, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  25. Marie MD

    Vouchers for medicare. Good luck seniors but don't worry if the browman gets his teeth into your social security you won't have to worry about healthcare because living in a tent with no food or the comforts of home will kill you. Death panels anyone?
    Obamacare already (no waiting until 2014) closed the donut hole on medicare. You can keep that $3,000 plus money you had to pay for medicines before.

    August 13, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
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