Sebelius hits Ryan over Medicare, marathon time
September 4th, 2012
12:15 PM ET
2 years ago

Sebelius hits Ryan over Medicare, marathon time

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) - Kathleen Sebelius ripped into Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan on Tuesday, telling the Ohio delegation in town for the Democratic convention that the GOP-backed proposal would mark the death of the program.

"There is no question," the Health and Human Services secretary said. "It ends Medicare as we know it."

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In his plan, the House Budget Committee chairman proposed replacing Medicare with a system that provides federal subsidies for seniors to purchase their own health care insurance.

Ryan, who was tapped last month to be Mitt Romney's running mate, has seen wide support among the GOP for the plan. The provision passed as part of Ryan's larger budget bill this year in the House but has not moved in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

While Romney has offered praise for Ryan's plan and says the proposal "almost precisely mirrors" his own Medicare plan, the GOP nominee has yet to elaborate on the differences between the two visions.

Sebelius is one of many Democrats aggressively using the idea as a wedge issue in the presidential race, saying a Romney-Ryan ticket would have detrimental results for the senior community.

If implemented, however, Romney and Ryan stress the law would not currently affect those over the age of 55, emphasizing they would retain their current Medicare benefits. The Romney campaign also makes the point that the proposal preserves traditional Medicare as one option for seniors, so that they'll have a choice between the traditional system and the new plan.

But Sebelius, a key advocate for President Obama's health care reform, warns that such a proposal would be too great a risk. She testified against the plan before the House last year when the measure was first proposed, and on Tuesday she continued her fight.

"Gone. Done. There would be no more guaranteed benefits for seniors. There would be guaranteed vouchers," Sebelius said.

A spokesman for Ryan responded to Sebelius' remarks Tuesday afternoon.

“If Kathleen Sebelius would like to compare plans to preserve Medicare, we’d love the opportunity. Instead she’s just repeated what has been dubbed the ‘lie of the year.’ The only plan the President has offered robs $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare and then leaves the program to go bankrupt. If the administration really valued Medicare, they wouldn’t be proposing to drive it into the ground,” Bredan Buck said in a statement.

An active runner, the health official also took a swipe at Ryan's recent marathon controversy, blasting the Wisconsin congressman for waffling on his run time at a 1990 marathon.

Runner's World magazine found that he had misstated his time by more than an hour. Ryan originally said in an interview that he ran the 26.2 mile race under an impressively fast time of three hours, but in fact he finished in just over four hours.

Ryan admitted his mistake in a radio interview Monday night, attributing the blunder on a back injury and the passage of time.

"I literally thought that was my time. It was 22 years ago," he said on WTOL. You forget sort of these things. I hurt my back when I was in my mid twenties, so obviously my perception of races and times were off.

Sebelius on Tuesday took the opportunity to roast the congressman, who's known as an exercise junkie, over the dust-up.

"I must confess, I do not do an under-3 hour marathon," Sebelius joked. "Anyone who starts with the notion that you have to make up your marathon time tells you all you need to know about Paul Ryan."


Filed under: 2012 • Kathleen Sebelius • Paul Ryan
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Greg

    I had a head ache in the 80's and completed the Iron Man in just under 6 hours. Gimme a break Ryan.

    September 4, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. WiredweirdinSF

    That is fine. She certainly can't point to anything positive she has done, so in typical democrat liberal fashion and very hypocritically, she attacks republicans (and probably blamed Bush also). That is the way everyone who serves in the regime of the most incompetent, inept, corrupt president in the history of this country does.

    September 4, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Timmeh

    This woman is pure evil. Ryan is trying to keep Medicare solvent. Obama wants to go with the status quo and continue writing blank checks. No one over 55 will be affected! Keep lying Cruella. His marathon time is another distraction from the fact Obama is a verifiable failure.

    September 4, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. jack johnson

    So his back injury made him lie, so what happens when it starts hurting again? Oh it has (G.M. Plant Closeing) sorry I forgot!!!!!!

    September 4, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    "There is no question," the Health and Human Services secretary said. "It ends Medicare as we know it."
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    What a pathetic lie. And from a Obama Cabinet member no less. This makes it an official lie from the Obama Administration. But then again, Obama is on the ropes and this is what he has sunk to.

    They all know that Ryan's bipartisan plan absolutely gives seniors the option of keeping the existing plan. But the existing plan pays the same for lousy service as it does for excellent service. Guess what this encourages. I'll give you a hint. Not excellent service. Not low cost.

    But the Ryan Plan gives seniors an option to have providers compete for their business using better cost and quality of care. Seniors who will choose this option will obviously care more about cost and quality than Obama and Sebelius do.
    Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan care more about quality and cost of care than Obama and Sebelius do.

    September 4, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. WILLARD MILTON ROMNEY IS A COWARD & TAX EVADER

    "Anyone who starts with the notion that you have to make up your marathon time tells you all you need to know about Paul Ryan."
    -----------------------------------
    Doh!!!(in Homer Simpson voice)
    The Cabinet fights back!!! I knew eventually all of Lying Ryan's lies will catch up to him.

    September 4, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Right. After a very short time on the national stage, this disgusting man has already proven that he is an habitual liar. (So much for religion making a person more moral!) Anyone who votes for Romney and this guy is making a serious mistake. Obama/Biden 2012!

    September 4, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Maxx

    What a liar – I ran a marathon in 1988 and remember my time exactly. It's not something you forget when you run only one. Finishing in over 4 hours says he just an average runner, happy just to finish. Finishing in under 3 hours requires serious talent and training – something Ryan obviously knows he doesn't have and didn't do.

    September 4, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    Ryan admitted his mistake in a radio interview Monday night, attributing the blunder on a back injury and the passage of time.
    ----------

    what does a back injury possibly have to do with his not remembering????? Is he nuts?

    September 4, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. tykl

    She is a partisan hack and clearly not capable of running something as big as the health dept. Medicare 'as we know it' ceases to exist in the next 2 decades if we do nothing. People are taking out $5 for every $1 they put in (inflation accounted for). So blaming somebody who is trying to fix Medicare by making it solvent is the most ignorant thing that could come out of somebody's mouth. Maybe she has an idea of how to keep it solvent? Maybe that plan is locked up somewhere with all of O's second term plans as well? Or maybe it is locked up with the agreement with the Russians for after the election when O is 'more flexible'?

    September 4, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. scarf

    Ryan is considered one of the policy wonks of the Republican Party. His voucher idea is a great example of why the Republican Party is considered to have no ideas.

    September 4, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. lilflyer

    I'm pretty sure if you've run one marathon in your life so far you'd remember that for life....that's quite a discrepancy in time...but like Guiliani said after Ryans speech at the convention "most speeches have facts that aren't accurate"! And you want to vote them into power!!!!

    September 4, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. bill miller

    Pure rotten politics. The Secretary knows better. Ryan's plan is an option. It is a seriou attempt to deal with future funding of Medicare. It does not end Medicare..it changes funding which is going to happen sooner or later. Sibelius may not be evil but she has succumbed to "fear and scare politics". Sad state of affairs when politicians cannot objectively compare various options. But then Obama administration is into making entitlements even bigger which we cannot afford. get real Sebelius.

    September 4, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Four and The Door wrote:

    What a pathetic lie. And from a Obama Cabinet member no less. This makes it an official lie from the Obama Administration.
    ---------------–
    It's hard to call it a lie when it is in fact true. There's a big difference between showing your Medicare card and going out shopping for health insurance from companies that won't sell you any.

    What does the GOTP plan to do about health insurance companies who drop anyone over age 65? Allowing companies to do that is why we have Medicare in the first place.

    If VoucherCare is such a good idea for Medicare, then why are they waiting a decade to implement it? Did you know that the cost to transition from Medicare to VoucherCare is estimated to cost more than any savings that Ryan makes claim to.

    BTW. Ryan ran that marathon in under 3 hours because his pants were on fire.

    September 4, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. thanks, but no thanks

    Did Ryan suggested we privatize social security because is not solvent? THAT IS AFTER BUSH AND HIS CRONIES RAIDED S.S TO PAY FOR THEIR UNWARRANTED WAR AGAINST IRAQ. Now, take a deep breath and think what would have been if democrats did not stop them in 2006. After 2008 collapse S.S would have gone more than broke. It would have been not solvent anymore. l am under 55 and stay the .... out my future medicare. l pay into it and l want it. l am never voting republican

    September 4, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Travis

    I can't believe this is even an issue. I get Sebelius going after Ryan over Medicare – it's election season and everyone is out to sling whatever mud they can about their apponent – but honesly, who cares about a marathon that he ran back in 1990? Regardless of if the time was correct or not, what does that have to do with anything nowadays?

    September 4, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    bill miller wrote:

    Pure rotten politics. The Secretary knows better. Ryan's plan is an option. It is a seriou attempt to deal with future funding of Medicare. It does not end Medicare..it changes funding which is going to happen sooner or later.
    -----------------
    Paul Ryan does not address waste and fraud at all. Paul Ryan keeps the cottage industry of insurance middlemen created under Bush with Medicare Advantage. Why should people become millionaires off of taxpayer money intended to provide health care for seniors? Most of the savings from Pres. Obama's plan would come from phasing out the middlemen until the entire industry is no more.

    I ask you this. If VoucherCare is such a good thing, why are they waiting a decade to implement it? Why wait a whole entire decade before you begin to fix it? Maybe, because VoucherCare is not a fix at all. Maybe, VoucherCare is a cleverly designed self destruct. Medicare would bankrupt itself in the transition costs to VoucherCare.

    September 4, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Travis

    sorry...I meant opponent, not apponent.

    September 4, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    Rudy NYC
    ...If VoucherCare is such a good idea for Medicare, then why are they waiting a decade to implement it?
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    I agree with you. Defined Premium is an excellent idea and should be implemented sooner than that. It works right now for members of congress. Finally seniors will get an option for the excellent kind of plan congressmen get!

    September 4, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. rc

    You own a company with 45 employees and know that when you hit 50 you need to comply with the Obamacare provisions or pay a stiff fine or you have 53 employees and are just over the limit. Will you be ina hurry to get to 50, will you find a way to get under 50? Welcome to the world of Obamacare where the unemployed have health insurance but there sure are a lot of em.

    September 4, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. hulky52

    The Secretary again is resorting to scare politics.... She does not acknowledge that Medicare has serious funding problems and Ryan is trying to adjust that.... We will find out in November if the public is ready to move forward on this issue and address this vital concern for our fiscal sovereignty .....

    September 4, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    bill miller wrote:

    Pure rotten politics. The Secretary knows better. Ryan's plan is an option. It is a seriou attempt to deal with future funding of Medicare. It does not end Medicare..it changes funding which is going to happen sooner or later.
    -----–
    The option you speak of was incorporated into version 2, to make it more palatable to the mainstream. However, the majority of Americans know that version 2 is all smoke. They know that should Republicans win the White House and both chambers, that we will version 1 come to a vote, not version 2. Mitt Romney has already stated that he would sign version 1.

    September 4, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. I hope they change Medicare as we know it

    $120T in unfunded liabilities related to Medicare and SS says we should change it. Keeping it the same is insanitiy. If you are under 50 years old, you will actually receive less money from SS than you put into the system during your working years. Your money would have been better off under a matress than in the hands of the Govt. Damn right we should change these systems and hopefully they will look nothing like our broke entitlement programs of today.

    September 4, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Kr55

    Isn't it a big no-no for religious ppl to shamelessly lie like crazy? Or is this all for the betterment of humanity to lie constantly all day every day and the ends justify the means to do "god's work"? It's getting painful to listen to all these people like Ryan.

    September 4, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. bob smitley

    It is common knowledge that the conservative wing of the Republican party (I think I may be the only one left who is not in that group) has been try to kill both Medicare and Socal Securty for decades.
    Ryan's plan would take so much away from the exsiting plan to th epoint where it withers and dies. That is his plan.
    As soo as they accomplish this they will start on Social Security again.

    Obama on the other hand is trying to implement real solutions that will benefit all Americans health care for the long haul.

    No question These Two Guys (Romney/Ryan) will say and do anything they can to take control and give the rest of this country to the 1%.

    September 4, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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