August 19th, 2012
10:42 AM ET
2 years ago

Campaigns both claim advantage on Medicare battle

(CNN) – The political battle over Medicare, brewing since Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate, showed no signs of easing Sunday, with operatives from each campaign claiming their side had an advantage with senior citizens concerned about their government-funded health benefits.

Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," said his campaign wasn't worried that seniors would be turned off by Ryan's House budget plan, which proposes allowing private insurers to compete with traditional Medicare on an exchange.

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"Actually, it is not a concern," Fehrnstrom told CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta. "In fact, if you look at the last few days of the campaign, you will see that Paul Ryan was down in Florida, as you mentioned, with his mother talking about the Romney-Ryan plan to strengthen and protect Medicare."

Ryan campaigned at a large retirement community in Florida on Saturday alongside his mother, whom he first mentioned last weekend as being a Medicare recipient.

Fehrnstrom said 2012 marked the first year Democrats were on the defensive on Medicare, saying that Romney was better positioned to win the argument over Medicare since his proposed plan wouldn't affect current seniors.

"Whatever changes get made to Medicare under a Romney-Ryan administration, they will not affect the current seniors. And this president cannot say the same, because he went in and raided Medicare to pay for Obamacare," Fehrnstrom said.

Republicans have used that argument for the past week in attacking Obama's Medicare record, though the nonpartisan fact-checker Politifact.com has given a "mostly false" rating to the claim that President Barack Obama robbed Medicare of funds to pay for his sweeping health care law.

Politifact also offered a "true" assessment on an argument from Democrats that Obama's and Ryan's plans contained similar spending reductions. Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for Obama, made that argument Sunday.

"Because Paul Ryan decided to join Mitt Romney's ticket, he is completely reversing himself on some of the issues he has been strong on, like $700 billion savings in two of the budgets," Cutter said, also on "State of the Union."

Cutter called Republican attempts to characterize the reduction in future spending as "raiding" Medicare "a complete distortion."

"They know that the $700 billion in savings had nothing to do with the senior benefits, but it expands the senior benefits," Cutter said, adding that Romney's pledge to repeal Obamacare would cause the system to go bankrupt more rapidly.

"If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan get elected to the White House, Medicare will be bankrupt by the end of their first term is what that means, and these are facts," Cutter said.

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Filed under: Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan • President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    She should have used birth control or had an abortion so we wouldn't have to deal with her dolt extremest son and hot dog car driver !!!!

    August 19, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. marjee123

    I just think with all the money this woman has got it is a shame that she is trying to convince the seniors who need medicare to go along with her sons proposal. And what is worst, he using his mother to try to convince seniors that taking away their medicare so republicans will have enough money to give the rich bigger tax breaks is shameful and outrageous. He and his mother should hand their heads in shame. I am 80 years old and if I loose medicare just what would I do.

    August 19, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Anonymous

    "Whatever changes get made to Medicare under a Romney-Ryan administration, they will not affect the current seniors."

    I don't know Mr. Eric Fehrnstrom. It's the "opening the door and letting them (Republicans) in" that should scare ALL of America, not just our Seniors. A truth can never be based on a lie ... and you're handing out a dozy right now.

    A great many people thought you all would help create jobs, too. They voted for your Party to "get 'er done" in 2010. Here it is, 2012, and last I heard, Boehner is still yelling HELL NO to each and every proposal not related to birth control. Jobs ... well, he's got that covered too. Blame Barack Obama.

    August 19, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. The REAL TRUTH...

    Let's see – lower cost FULL healthcare coverage provided by private insurers without lost of current benefits versus Govt funded healthcare covered by a fixed amount voucher system leaving the recipient to cover ANY excess cost??
    ACA versus Ryan?
    It's a no-brainer folks... the FACTS speak for themselves. The Ryan plan can't hold a candle to ACA. If it wasn't for the illiterate right wing brainwashed lemmings being indoctrinated, we would be having this merit-less discussion.

    August 19, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Milton K. Wiah

    The only way the republicans will win the argument as they claim is if only those old people will not read or listen
    to the discussion. Because it is very weir two people who run on the same ticket to have two different opinion
    on one subject. Romney is on board with the Ryan budget which includes the saving in Obama medicare
    proposal but saying it raided medicare. How stupid the argument is.

    August 19, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. labman57

    Romney has been trying to distance himself from his running mate's Medicare plan, yet Mitt also said that his own Medicare plan is "the same, if not identical" (huh?) to Ryan's plan .... which includes these same budget reductions.

    In other words, the plans are identical ... except where they're different.

    And Mitt will gladly explain the specifics of HIS plan ... just as soon as his corporate and ultra-wealthy overlords finish determining them.

    Frankly, I think Romney is being deceitful, if not disingenuous or dishonest. Of course, he could simply be lying.

    Team Romney's spin doctors will be working overtime trying to rewrite his muddled message regarding Medicare policies, taxation proposals, and his federal budget plan(s).

    Alas, addressing all of the gaffs, blatant lies, distortions, and conflicting comments emanating from Mitt and Paul is akin to playing a game of "Whack-a-mole".

    Regarding the use of a whiteboard as a visual prop, Glenn Beck called - he wants his shtick back.

    August 19, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Phil Thomas

    CNN this is sad there's no question about who is lying and the fact you are promoting this right wing propaganda shows how much journalism has sank. Pathetic and sad people have to read something on one of your channels and then go to a non partisan fact check site. Soledad obrian is the only person on your network earning her paycheck.

    August 19, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. NOT a Government Dependent

    This isn't a discussion so much about Medicare as it is a discussion about OBAMACARE and that is a disaster for Obama. Most Americans want it repealed and now the seniors know their medicare was raided to pay for it. Romney wants it repealed and replaced with REAL reforms. Obama wants to destroy our healthcare system with Obamacare. Any senior that votes for Obama is voting against their own best interest.

    August 19, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. myviewis

    You guys don't get it because you are not looking at the accounting trick. You guys need to do simple math and you will see. Imagine you go to the store and when paying for the meat you find out it has $2.00 off. You just saved yourself $2.00. $2.00 you keep in your wallet. Obama will say to you now let me take those $2.00 you saved and use it to pay Obamacare. In other words, Obama will get cheaper care, cheaper prescriptions, lower the payments Medicare makes to doctors and hospitals which the in the Affordable Care Act on page 10 it states that the United States Department of Health and Human Services reported that this lower payments could put almost 15% of hospitals and providers into debt and could cause Seniors to not have accessibility to medical care. So, Obama is using whatever he can save by lowering payments to doctors and hospitals and lowering payments to Home Health Care, our SAVED Money, to pay for Obamacare.....Medicare is paying for Obamacare and he is also raising our Medicare Tax come 2013 by .9%. Get it????? The money Obama saves Medicare is still our money and should stay in Medicare. What Obama should have done is charges us an Obamacare TAX on our paychecks to pay for Obamacare and leave Medicare alone.

    August 19, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. tee1227

    Anyone who takes Ryan vouchers plan are crazy ! How many doctor visit will it take before that $8,000 is gone and then your are on your own.

    August 19, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. Thomas

    @Jon
    Yesterday 4 bipartisan Nobel prize winning Economic Laureates have come out and said that Romney's economic plans are great and will turn the economy around.

    The group, founded by ex-Bush official, includes 5 Nobel Prize winners ... supporting Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's economic policies.

    Ohh Great , Ex GW Bush Economic yesmen support Mitt Romney .
    NO THANKS.

    August 19, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Bren

    Here is what is interesting liberals, and why once voters hear Paul Ryan's "real" plans/positions--not the liberals' versions of his plans/positions-most support his ideas!! Paul Ryan was elected/reelected to a Democratic district in Wisconsin 7 times!! The last time was in 2010, when he captured 65% of the vote. If anyone wants to read about Paul Ryan's "real" plans on all of the issues--including Medicare--just go to Paulryan dott house dott gov and read the information for yourself!!

    August 19, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. myviewis

    tee1227

    Anyone who takes Ryan vouchers plan are crazy ! How many doctor visit will it take before that $8,000 is gone and then your are on your own.
    ------------------–

    Go to the White House website, read carefully the Affordable Care Act and Strenghtening Medicare, report of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, report of Nancy Ann DeParle, then do simple math and you will see that the bottom line here is to give Medicare Patients lower cost medical care, lower prescriptions, reduce funding for Medicare Advantage policies, reduce medicare home health care payments, etc... all these money Obama plans on saving us because we pay for Medicare out of our paycheck, our money saved will be diverted to pay for Obamacare. Medicare patients will sacrifice medical care, prescriptions, etc... just so that Obama can have money left over in our Medicare account so he can have that money to pay for Obamacare. I say Obama should have charged us an Obamacare TAX in our paychecks just like we all pay for Medicare out of our paychecks.

    August 19, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. gord

    if they lied about going to war,they will about any thing

    August 19, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. myviewis

    GOP is for the rich

    @myviewis...
    So, in the entire history of the world, there was no government until there was business for it to tax? Do you see how stupid that sounds?
    You are 'foxwashed' bigtime!
    -----------------------–

    To answer your question, yes, businesses in history came before governments. Governments were created after businesses. Read HISTORY on Governments and Taxes.

    August 19, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Lizzie

    So the view of the democrats is, to save SS and Medicare you cut contribution to those programs and call it a tax reduction.

    August 19, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. The REAL TRUTH...

    @NOT a Government Dependent – This isn't a discussion so much about Medicare as it is a discussion about OBAMACARE and that is a disaster for Obama.
    ---------------------
    No, it's yet another Grand Obstructionist Party half-hearted attempt to discredit ACA – since their SCOTUS attempt was so successful. Perhaps the right win nuts who buy into Ryan's voucher plan should try reading BOTH plans, and educate themsevles on th topic before parrotting off the Fuax Noise propaganda. With that knowledge, there's simply no choice. ACA wins hands down, as does Obama,
    It's obvious to anyone with more than 10 functioning brain cells that the Party of "NO!" has no platform, no viable candidate or plans/policies, is violating their own less govt mantra daily, and has no chance in Nov.

    August 19, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Bren

    Not only will Obama be robbing $750 billion out of the Medicare piggy bank to pay for Obamacare..........He will be taking money out of Medicare and from senior citizens, to pay for the millions of illegals that he gave amnesty!! "Someone" has to pay for them!! And, young illegals are still able to work and pay taxes to Obama/liberals--senior citizens are not.

    August 19, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Bren

    "Not only will Obama be robbing $750 billion out of the Medicare piggy bank to pay for Obamacare..........He will be taking money out of Medicare and from senior citizens, to pay for the millions of illegals that he gave amnesty!! "Someone" has to pay for them!! And, young illegals are still able to work and pay taxes to Obama/liberals–senior citizens are not."

    Surely you aren't one of those TeaPers all worried about the deficit? This little lie you keep trying to perpatrate has been debunked ... over and over and over and over and over again.

    August 19, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    "She should have used birth control or had an abortion so we wouldn't have to deal with her dolt extremest son and hot dog car driver !!!!"
    -----
    Hate much? Seek help.

    August 19, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. Anthony

    Myviews,
    Medicare is not adequately funded. Without reform It is going to go bankrupt. Without the 700 billion in cuts, Medicare will run out of money for impatient care in 2016, instead of 2024 if the cuts are kept. This is why Ryan included the cuts in his own budget, because the cuts EXTEND the life of Medicare. Romney said that he will cancel the cuts. Is this what Romney wants, "saving" Medicare by making it go bankrupt faster and replacing it with a voucher plan sooner, which only applies to people who are younger than 55 because Romney knows seniors want no part of the voucher plan?

    August 19, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    should have been "trying to perpetuate..."

    August 19, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. Phil Thomas

    Sad CNN is letting Jim Acosta the guy who sat on Mitt Romneys lap and interviewed him Run state of the Union. A monkey can ask better questions, I don't even blame Acosta because he's following Romney on the campaign trail and can't exactly burn that bridge

    August 19, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. Anthony

    I meant inpatient care in my post.

    August 19, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. AJ

    The GOP plan, kill medicare and give the rich more tax cuts,the Democrats plan, save medicare, who has the advantage?

    August 19, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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