August 14th, 2012
09:02 AM ET
2 years ago

Campaigns spar over Ryan vs. Romney plans

(CNN) – Surrogates for Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama argued Tuesday over just how similar Romney's budget plan was to the plan offered by his new running mate Paul Ryan, which proposes major changes to Medicare.

Speaking on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Romney campaign national co-chairman John Sununu stressed that Romney, as the name on the top of the GOP ticket, was guiding the budget his campaign is proposing, but that elements of Ryan's House GOP budget proposal – including the Medicare provisions – would be included.

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"The nominee is Mitt Romney. Paul Ryan joins Mitt Romney. The budget plan, the approach on Medicare and all of that, is going to be the Romney plan," Sununu said. "What he has is a man as his number two who understands the details of budgets who has demonstrated a willingness to take on tough issues and who knows how to communicate with the public."

Ryan's proposals, first introduced in 2011, include the provision that Medicare-approved private insurers would one day compete with traditional Medicare on an exchange. The proposal would not affect Americans over age 55. The plan's opponents say that would increase the financial burden on senior citizens.

On his website, Romney says Ryan's Medicare proposal "almost precisely mirrors Mitt's ideas," which include repackaging Medicare spending "as a fixed-amount benefit to each senior that he or she can use to purchase an insurance plan."

At a press conference in Miami Monday, Romney was asked to address the similarities and differences with Ryan on Medicare.

"We haven't gone through piece by piece and said 'oh, here's a place where there's a difference,'" Romney said. "I can't imagine any two people even in the same party who have exactly the same positions on all issues, but my plan for Medicare is very similar to his plan for Medicare."

Sununu on Tuesday pointed to one difference between the two plans, saying Ryan's budget included a provision from Obama's plan that Romney would exclude.

"For example, when Obama gutted Medicare by taking $717 billion out of it, the Romney plan does not do that. The Ryan plan mimicked part of the Obama package there. The Romney plan does not. That's a big difference," Sununu said.

The $717 billion figure derives from a Congressional Budget Office evaluation from July 24, which measured the impact of repealing the health care overhaul law known by many 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.

David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama's re-election campaign, said on Tuesday that Sununu wasn't "talking straight" on the connection between the Romney and Ryan plans, pointing to the presumptive GOP nominee's own remarks in Miami.

"Yesterday Gov. Romney was asked to lay out some of the differences and he couldn't do it," Axelrod said, adding that Romney himself had indicated approval of Ryan's budget in the past.

"In terms of whether Ryan, what role he will play, I can only tell you that Gov. Romney said that he is the intellectual leader of the Republican Party," Axelrod said. "That suggests a much larger role. When you look at their proposals side-by-side, they are really quite similar."

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Filed under: 2012 • Medicare • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Hey, Mittens got anymore of those 100K jobs at Bain for doing nothing? 'Call Me, Maybe?'

    "The nominee is Mitt Romney. Paul Ryan joins Mitt Romney. The budget plan, the approach on Medicare and all of that, is going to be the Romney plan," Sununu said.

    You betcha'(wink, wink).

    August 14, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Linda

    Romney/Ryan will hurt the seniors of this country by cutting or trying to revamp Social Security, they will hurt the poor and less fortuneate by cutting medicare, medicaid and free lunches for the poor children that depend on our lunch programs in schools as their main source of food, and Ryan voted against higher wages for women, so they will not only being forcing their beliefs on abortion, reproduction and telling women what they can and can not do with their female organs, but will also have their nose in every womans pocket book telling you that you don't match up to equal pay with the men of this country, not to mention they have no foreign policy but will send your sons and daughters and grandchildren off to more wars to support Isreal in their fight against Iran, and their thinking of giving more money to the military to build up our War Coffiers so they can get us into more wars.......they will take this country down the road of distruction like this country has never seen before, even worse than Bush.......

    August 14, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    myviewis wrote:

    Are you referring to the Senior Citizens who have not received their Cost-of-Living increase in 3 years and many have had to skip their medicines because they don't have the money to pay for them and are barely making rent payment and barely buying food or even gas???? You should read the article in the Huffington Post from Sat or Sun about senior citizens complaining to Obama because he didn't give them an increase in the last 3 years and they need that money. Really good article.
    ---------------–
    You either read half of the article, or enjoy spreading half truths. The Republicans in Congress have blocked COLA increases as "wasteful" spending. They would rather add another $500 billion to the annual deficit with tax cuts for the wealthy, per the Romney/Ryan Plan.

    Did you know that Paul Ryan favors eliminating all taxes on capital gains? Which means people who earn most of their income from investments would pay nothing. Based upon his 2010 return, Romney would pay 0,48% under the Ryan Plan.

    Speaking of tax returns, I think Romney is going to try to weasel out of releasing his 2011 return. He's scheduled to release within two weeks of the general election, which would a really dumb thing to do. But, if he doesn't release his return, then he breaks his promise to the American People, which would an even dumber thing to do. Romney's stuck in a box of his own design.

    August 14, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. MaryM

    The 500billion from medicare was a cost savings from providers only just like the private insurance companies do their cost savings. It did NOT affect the medicare benifits to seniors

    August 14, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. Kenny K

    I think GOP should experiment voucher in the Congress and Senate healthcare benefits. That way, we can see how it works, and how much their out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are after vouchers are exhausted. I know they can afford the extra healthcare expenses; I just want see if it is amount average citizen can afford.

    August 14, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. ST

    Are Romney and Ryan not working as a team? Why should each individual has a different plan? Can Romney clarify to people how these plans are not identical?

    August 14, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans have put this old guy Sununu front and center of "Ryan's Budget Plan aka Holocaust" on the most vulenerable Americans because they know if Romney/Ryan talk about it's the end for them but Americans aren't buying it. But remember, if Romney/Ryan weren't planning on instituting the Ryan budget the GOP would never chosen Ryan to run with Romney.

    August 14, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. lyn

    Letter to Editor in my local newspaper claimed because of Obamacare, Medicare would no longer cover Cataract surgery. The writer hoped enough people would believe that BS without investigating. I called my eye dr. and Medicare and found out that was a total lie. In the meantime many people would swallow these lies without checking facts. Start thinking for yourself people, stop being sheep.

    August 14, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Larry L

    @Rudy NYC

    Your reply to "myviewisdishonest" was spot-on-target. He'll likely change his name again as he does when he gets "spanked" enough.

    August 14, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. UDidntBuildThat

    Rudy NYC
    U don't seem to understand that Medicare as we know already ended with the stealing fr the old to give the welfare babies, drug addicts and lazy people that think working is just too hard. What that the intent of Medicare?
    The Ryan plan is trying to save it for future generations. Obama himself said Ryan was a decent honest man. So is Ryan lying in his motives to save it for his mom and children? Dems admitt that Ryan is very smart and can get us out of this mess. Now all of a sudden he is extreme? And u r stupid to fall for it?

    Time and time again it has been proven that people do a better job at investing their own money, than the govt. It is called personal responsiblity. Why is it that liberals think the govt can do a better job? If that were the case then why is Medicare so broken, going bankrupt and in need of fixing? Should we just continue until the checks stop?

    What exactly is Obama's plan for the economy, jobs, medicare and the debt? Tax the rich and spend more? Did that work so far? Will $85B more revenue fix medicare, create jobs, balance the budget and pay of the debt? That is what Obama is proposing by ending "Bush Tax cut for the rich". That is all his tax hike will bring in. That is how much it takes to run the govt for 8 days. Does that sound like a serious plan? I mean u really don't think Obama is going to raise money on Soros, Clooney, and all his rich friends now do u?

    August 14, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Kenny K

    Sununu should tell Bohner, Cantor, and Senate minority leader that the Ryan budget they whole-heartedly support and passed should be put in backburner.

    August 14, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Four and The Door

    Kenny K
    I think GOP should experiment voucher in the Congress and Senate healthcare benefits. That way, we can see how it works, and how much their out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are after vouchers are exhausted.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    They do have a similar system in Congress and it does work.

    August 14, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    truth hurts

    I am truly baffled by the Democrats and leftists great concern about others budgets considering they have refused to produce one for 4 years and spent out of control.
    ------------------------–
    FALSE. Pres. Obama is required by law to submit a budget every year. I can guarantee you that if he did not do so, then conservatives like Rep. Issa would have him up for impeachement. Besides, last week you wrote about how the Senate voted down Pres. Obama's budget 0-99. Or, did you forget? Do you make stuff up as you go along? It sounds like it.

    August 14, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. Trickle down doesn't work

    "Daddy can you tell us the story again of how you destroyed the evil middle-class and renamed that post office?"

    August 14, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. Larry L

    The "Romney Plan" never provides specifics on anything. Tax cuts for all, huge Department of Defense increases, cheap gas, fantastic health care, and even a new embassy for israel! All free!

    Make no mistake... Romney and Ryan will trash medicare and plunder the Social Security system. They will put the tax burden on the backs of the middle class. They give no specifics for the same reason they won't show their tax returns – they're lying.

    August 14, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Four and The Door wrote:

    Premium support is not only a good idea, it is an excellent idea! But here is where your fear of change is unfounded. Seniors will have a choice. Stay with the existing defined benefit plan where substandard care gets the same fixed payment as good care. Or seniors can choose the premium support plan where care is competitive. And when seniors choose the least expensive care they get to keep the difference. It's obvious seniors will find that competition improves care and fulfills the promise of Medicare without going broke.
    -------------–
    You forgot to answer the question, because you know the answer and don't want to admit it. How Romney of you.

    If Medicare vouchers are such a good idea, then why are they proposing to wait a decade? Why not now?

    August 14, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Trickle down doesn't work

    "Mr. Ryan, I have cancer and I ran out of vouchers. What do I do?...Well you can die comforted in the fact that my family and I have good health insurance"

    August 14, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. truth hurts

    >MaryM - The 500billion from medicare was a cost savings from providers

    So the government dictates to hospitals what they are going to be paid no matter what the procedures actually cost. This sounds like the same BS the government pulls with this imaginery savings called the Doc Fix. They been paying it out for over 10 years now because they are afraid doctors will drop medicare patients if they cut payments. If they now start pulling this with hospitals then people will start seeing adverse affects thanks to the government. And this is why government involvement in healthcare is a big mistake.

    August 14, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. UDidntBuildThat

    MaryM
    The 500billion from medicare was a cost savings from providers only just like the private insurance companies do their cost savings. It did NOT affect the medicare benifits to seniors
    _____________________________________________________________
    Guess what neither will the Ryan plan!! It will not touch seniors benefits. He is trying to offer more choices for his generation. His plan is ONLYfor his generation!
    Oh and u might want to educate yourself on what the CBO says what Obama did by stealing fr the old, will do to your benefits in a couple of yrs. U say Obama's plans need more time to work? Well so does what he did to medicare. Tell us what will u do when the checks stop or care start to be rationed.
    "Maybe you are not better off having the surgery but just taking the pain-killer"-words of wisdom fr Dr Obama on old people.

    August 14, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  20. Fair is Fair

    "Speaking of tax returns, I think Romney is going to try to weasel out of releasing his 2011 return."
    -------
    Curious, Rudy... do you have any idea of what needs comprises a request for extension? it's not just a little piece of paper that says "I need some time, please"... it includes a best-guess estimate of all income and deductions, and it's required to be accompanied with a check for the amount of tax due based on the estimates (and yes, if the estimate was low, interest and penalties are applied). So 95% of the information is there. Hardly trying to "weasel out" of anything. Hasn't the Obama campaign anything else to throw against the wall to see what sticks?

    August 14, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. v_mag

    As far as Romney's plan goes, how does he plan to explain his connection with Salvadoran death squads? This is not a fantasy. It's all over the non-CNN news.

    August 14, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. truth hurts

    Rudy NYC
    truth hurts
    I am truly baffled by the Democrats and leftists great concern about others budgets considering they have refused to produce one for 4 years and spent out of control.
    --------–
    FALSE. Pres. Obama is required by law to submit a budget every year.
    ======================================================================================

    REAL budgets. Not Obama joke budgets that not a single Democrat will vote for in 4 years.

    I was referring to the Senate anyways. The fact is that Democrats just don't want the American people to know how much they are spending and how fast. And they want to continue this fiscal madness and total irresponsibility for another 4 years or until we are bankrupt.

    August 14, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Try talking to Senior Citizens about Social Security under Obama and many would rather go with Romney."

    GOPers have talked to me, and ... well ... I've listened.

    Obama/Biden 2012-2016

    August 14, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. v_mag

    Romney got $9M for Bain from Salvadorans who murdered Archbishop Romero and thousands of others. Is that the kind of business experience you righties want to see in the White House? Or, maybe you just like the way he takes campaign money from mafiosi like Sheldon Adelson?

    Romney, show us your taxes so we can see all your dirty dealing.

    August 14, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  25. Sniffit

    "So 95% of the information is there."

    No it's not. It is, in fact, just a simple form with some scribbled estimates that you send in with a check. It is very "bottom line" and summary and indicates pretty much none of the real information that would be laid out in the various schedules, like an S-corp's income and expenses and deductions or details on various investment income sources or carry-over losses, etc.

    August 14, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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