Ryan stands by $716 billion Medicare criticism
August 18th, 2012
05:20 PM ET
2 years ago

Ryan stands by $716 billion Medicare criticism

(CNN) - In an interview on Saturday, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said his Medicare proposal had "evolved" - with, among other influences, input from Democrats.

"As we got into looking at this issue, talking with Democrats, it evolved to be a plan that is now bipartisan," the House Budget Committee chairman said in an interview with Fox News, referring to a compromise proposal he and Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, unveiled last December. Neither of Ryan's budgets, with proposals for Medicare, have passed the Democrat-controlled Senate.

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But now, as both Ryan and GOP presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticize President Barack Obama for his health care reform law, Democrats are using at least one part of the proposal to knock the congressman from Wisconsin in return.

"I heard Mitt Romney deride the $700 billion cuts in Medicare that the president achieved through health care reform," Obama's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, said last Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation. "And interestingly enough, Paul Ryan protected those cuts in his budget."

At his rally in The Villages, Florida, earlier, Ryan leveled the charge to which Cutter was referring.

"Here's what the president won't tell you about his Medicare plan, about Obamacare," Ryan said. "The president raids $716 billion from the Medicare program to pay for the Obamacare program."

The non-partisan fact-checker Politifact.com has rated a nearly identical charge by Romney, that Obama has "robbed" Medicare of the amount as "mostly false." It also found Cutter's assessment of the similarities - but not the description of reductions as "cuts" - between the Romney and Obama's plans to be "true."

Asked in the Saturday interview to respond to that general point, Ryan said, "Well there's a lot to sort through. Look, we're offering leadership, we're offering solutions. The president is not. The president has a failed economic agenda - 23 million people are still looking for work."

In a July interview with ABC News, Ryan explained that the difference between his plan and Obama's plan with regards to the $716 billion was how the money would be used.

"Well, our budget keeps that money for Medicare to extend its solvency," he said. "What Obamacare does is it takes that money from Medicare to spend on Obamacare."

Since Ryan was introduced to the Republican ticket a week ago, Democrats have criticized his budget and Medicare proposal. In an interview with a CNN affiliate in Wisconsin, WBAY, this week, Romney said, "Paul Ryan and my plan for Medicare, I think, is the same if not identical - it's probably close to identical."

In a campaign memo circulated on Saturday, Romney's policy director, Lanhee Chen, explained that both candidates support a plan which "(a) makes no changes to Medicare for those over 55; (b) starting in 2022, transitions Medicare to a premium support model with competitive bidding to determine support levels, (c) offers traditional Medicare as an option competing in that system, and (d) means-tests the premium support so that lower-income seniors receive the most generous assistance."

In his Fox interview, Ryan also echoed what he said in a Thursday paper statement, when he said he took responsibility for letters he signed and sent to federal agencies in support of stimulus-funded grants requested by a non-profit organization in his state.

"My office sends tens of thousands of letters to versus federal agencies and this goes through what we call a case work system and we treat it as a case work for constituents," he said. "I take full responsibility for it, whether it's my intention to send letters supporting stimulus, this doesn't change the fact that the stimulus was a bomb, it didn't work, it's a boondoggle and borrowing and spending, spending on things like Solyndra, that doesn't create a job."

Ryan had previously said he did not request stimulus funds, and said on Thursday that he was previously unaware of the letters.


Filed under: 2012 • Paul Ryan
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Ryan/Romney Kill Medicare Team 2012

    So,let me see if I got this right. I been paying into Medicare and Social Security for over 20 years to give some else the best care. But, when it comes to me I should take less or a gamble under the Ryan/Romney Plan. I say he11 no! I want a guarantee at 65 years old. Never take advice from a person that's embarrass to show his tax returns.

    August 18, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  2. SayWhat

    More smoke and mirrors by R and R; in other words you are being Rail Roaded.

    August 18, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  3. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Paul rand you are following in your leader footsteps. Grow a pair. Release the tax returns.

    August 18, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  4. SurRy

    The non-partisan fact-checker Politifact.com has rated a nearly identical charge by Romney, that Obama has "robbed" Medicare of the amount as "MOSTLY FALSE." It also found Cutter's assessment of the similarities – but not the description of reductions as "cuts" – between the Romney and Obama's plans to be "true."

    Everyone knows the facts have a liberal bias.

    August 18, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  5. SurRy

    As usual. The Republicans twist everything, keep repeating it, and the dummies in this country believe it.

    August 18, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  6. Donkey Party

    Can't seem to decide which is more sickening, the lies from Romney, Ryan, and the rest of the domestic terrorist GOP, or the level of stupidity of their supporters. Bunch of America-hating sub-humans that deserve to be eradicated like the life-choking weeds they are.

    August 18, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  7. chedar888

    Both the parents of Romney and Ryan does not need Medicare. It is the working class that needs it. Ask Ryan how much voucher he is going to come up with to help pay for your private insurance. My wife at 64 pays $1521 per month. If you are now 55 yrs old and you reach 67 (12 more years befor you qualify for a voucher). You can be sure the rise in premium is at a minimum of 15-17%. You will be paying $7400 per month when you hit 67 yrs. old. Assuming average social security right now that a person received is $1500. With increase by the government at 3% per year based on what they define as inflation,. By the time you reach 67, you will be receiving a Social Security of $ 2140. If you pay a premium of $7400 assuming you give all your social security to your health insurance company, you need a voucher of $5261 per month. Is that what the voucher Ryan is going to give you? Ask him? Even if he give you a voucher of $5261, you wont' have anything left. Not even money for a dog food on your next meal.

    August 18, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  8. dlwech

    Ryan plays fast and loose with stats – anyone watching this guy for the past year or so knows that. Since you brought up partisan differences in unemployment Sen. Ryan, here's few from the US Bureau of to contemplate: There were 12.86 million unemployed when Obama took office - there are 12.5 million unemployed now. The highest mark before the sharp run-up in unemployment under Bush II (the effects certainly ran into Obama's term) was 12.05 in December 1982, Reagan's first term - 30 years ago when the population was smaller, so it was actually a bigger percentage of the nation.

    But I digress. Unemployment typically has very little to do with who is in the Oval Office, and nothing you and Mr. Romney have proposed is likely to change that.

    August 18, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  9. Chipster

    Ryan does include the Medicare cost reductions that the Affordable Care Act achieves in his budget, claiming that he uses them to extend Medicare. But the irony is, if he repeals the ACA, there will be no cost reductions for Ryan to include in his budget! The ACA offsets costs for the program by providing cost reductions in Medicare and other health related programs.

    August 18, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  10. rs

    It is interesting and telling that with Mr. Ryan as the presumptive VP for Mr. Romney, that they have changed their story on Medicare EVERY DAY this week. This would seem to imply either: they have no clue what they are doing, or; they are lying in their respective teeth.

    August 18, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  11. Jeettu

    It is clear that Ryan is lying about the $716 cut in Medicare by Obama. All independent agencies have verified and concluded that these are savings realized by insisting that medicare providers and insurers become more effective and effiicient. Further, if Ryan or other republicans would have suspected that type of cut, they would have brought to our attention at the time of the discussions about the healthcare reform to convince us o vote against the healthcare reform (which they tried their utmost).

    Regardless of hard they shout, their lies are still lies. This clearly shows that we cannot trust Romney, Ruan or other republicans and hence cannot vote for them in November elections. Therefore, we will vote for Obama for President and other democratic tickets for the house and senate seats.

    August 18, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  12. Bootstomper

    This guy reminds me of Elmer fuddled. Waskally wabbit.

    August 18, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  13. Hillcrester

    No, Mr. Ryan, Obama's appriach extends the financial viability if Medicare while yours starts an inevitable transition to a private-insurance based voucher plan.

    Obama removes the unarranted and ineffctual Medicare "Advantage" subsidy from insurance companies and uses it reduce prescription costs in Basic Medicare's Part D benefit

    The ACA reduces waste and other costs without reducing ANY benefits for Basic Medicare recipients.

    Mr. Ryan–Stop lying about what Ibana gas done and what your proposal will actually do

    August 18, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  14. Voltaire

    Radical Ryan doges questions about medicare by giving answers about the economy? And when caught in a lie on something he said, claims he has no memory of it?

    August 18, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    When there is a chance to do something positive, the oppositiion decries it. It seems that they are jelaous in the fact that they can't get anything done.

    August 18, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  16. aaron

    What a weasel. Trying to include Dems as supporters of his plans to dismantle social security and medicare. No politicians seeking re-election would get within 1000 miles of his proposals.

    August 19, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  17. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    This is the Koch Bros. water boy; don't trust him!

    August 19, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  18. eciam

    Ryan had previously said he did not request stimulus funds, and said on Thursday that he was previously unaware of the letters. Sure you did Ryan Hood, and the Bush auto bail out lie, I quess that was just a out right lie!

    August 19, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  19. Anonymous

    These guys lie so much they can't even keep their stories straight.

    August 19, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  20. Marry

    “…Mitt Romney derides the $700 billion cuts in Medicare that the president achieved through health care reform." “And interestingly enough, Paul Ryan protected those cuts in his budget."
    Paul Ryan demonstrates what the GOP-Congress has been doing since taking over the house: Obstruct what the President suggests to do. They cannot stomach the President; never mind what he does even – when he wants to do what they suggest. As long as they are against it = the party of “NO”!
    The only smart solution is to vote a complete Democratic ticket on all levels! Then we will see who can bring the country forward. Give you a little hint – it surly is not the GOP!!!!!

    August 19, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  21. Dan

    In 2002 Ryan promoted President Bush' 3rd stimulus saying it was a proven way for putting Americans back to work and helping the unemployed. Sadly, Ryan repeatedly voted against stimulus programs when a Democrat was in the White House.

    Nationally, Ryan has repeatedly blamed President Obama for the GM plant closing in Janesville. The reality is the Janesville plant closed in 2008, under Bush. In 2008, Ryan repeatedly talked about the millions he brought home for those who were out of work from the GM plant closing.

    Ryan is a typical life long Washington DC politician. He was a Washington intern before he because a Congressman. He says one thing (like promising to serve only 2-terms) when it helps him and then does another when he's in power.

    August 19, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  22. Karen

    Newt Gingrich called Ryans plan "Radical Right Wing Social Engineering" in the Republican primary (look it up – someone!). I am not worried about some millionare's mother, but MYSELF who put into this system for YEARS and am now being told I'll have to wait TWO additional years to get Medicare, and it will be VASTLY REDUCED from the system I have been paying for through my payroll taxes for so many years of my working life...

    I can't be alone in my concern as a person under 55 who thinks this is the biggest blow to my future ever – taking back a promise for health security in the senior years of my life.

    Shame on you, Paul Ryan – and Mitt Romney, for not addressing people like me, with 20 and 30 years paying into a system you plan on cutting up, while you leave defense, foreign aide, etc. "as is" – and shame on the the country if they allow this to happen.

    August 19, 2012 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  23. just wondering

    VOTE Romney/Ryan AMERICA'S TRUE DEATH PANEL FOR SENIOR'S...

    August 19, 2012 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  24. Lauravan

    What an absolute loser. A man that clearly wants to rob the poor to feed the wealthiest Americans' bank accounts. He should be jailed for trying start a civil just for proposing his ideas. After four years of obstructing the hard working politicians on Capital Hill they now want to criticize them for not doing enough. Well guess what republican obstructionists, you're the reason that little has been accomplished. So shut up and pack your boxes in preparation for going home. We don't want your wars, defense contractors or the ultra-rich folks tax breaks. Go home!!

    August 19, 2012 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  25. mb2010a

    "He also returned the volley of criticism, charging that Obama "raids $716 billion dollars from the Medicare program to pay for the Obamacare program." The independent fact checker Politifact.com has rated this charge "mostly false," pointing out the amount is projected future spending reductions reached through cutting payments to providers." He fails to mention that his plan cuts over $800 billion from MediCare...

    August 19, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
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