August 14th, 2012
09:02 AM ET
9 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. Rudy NYC

    Mitt Romney loves to say "repeal and replace" a lot. Repeal and replace the ACA with what? Republicans want to return to clients being dropped and/or denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, lifetime limits on what is paid out, not allowing coverage until age 26 for young adults, and we would lose refunds to customers and how much profit insurers can make off of their premiums, and more.

    August 14, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  2. GI Joe

    If Ryan/Romney get into the whitehouse they win the battle, but we the people (that are hard working) lose the war.

    They will NOT prevent me from voting. I'll take a folding chair if the lines are long. If there's something needed that some folks can't afford (for their ID), go church to church until you find one that will help you with it. Do it NOW. Don't wait until they change the rules/boundaries again.

    August 14, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. GI Joe

    I can't believe another human would sell out an entire country's safety, health, and families, just for a few hundred thousand more in THEIR pocket.

    Vote Dem in November, 2012 - Don't let them deny you your right to vote.

    August 14, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. American People

    The GOP plan for everything: Tax breaks for the rich to create jobs in China and India.

    August 14, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  5. Darryl

    A Wallstreet Banker & ceo ? A Republican, T-Party Ex-tremist ? That's exactly what Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan are. Are these 2 guys who we Americans want to put in the White House ? NEVER ! Very, Very BAD !

    August 14, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    myviewis wrote:

    ....The major change so far to Medicare are the $500 billion dollars President Obama took from Medicare to pay for Obamacare and the reason Democrats are not complaining of President Obama taking this money from Medicare is because they think they will be getting Free medical from Obamacare by Medicare paying for Obamacare......
    No. The funds removed from Medicare go towards assisting those presently uninsured without resources to pay for health insurance. Since insurers can no longer drop/deny people coverage because of pre-existing conditions, that will mean that fewer people will be moving from private coverage to publiclyfunded coverage.

    You don't understand the problem. Understanding comes from knowing why Medicare was created. It was created because health insurers were permitted to simply drop people whenever insurers felt it was in their best interests. They dropped people over 65, those were terminally ill, those with pre-existing conditions. Medicare was created to cover those people.

    The ACA prohibits insurers from doing that, which means fewer people will be needing Medicare and the cost to the taxpayers goes down. The ACA shifts the cost of health care from the public sector back to the private sector where it belongs. Also, there is a difference in terminology between the cost of health care and health insurance. Too often people use the term "health care" when in fact they are talking about "health insurance."

    August 14, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. myviewis


    There is virtually no difference between Romney and Ryan's position. It is more tax cuts for the wealthy off the backs of seniors and middle class Americans.

    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.

    August 14, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. v_mag

    Everyone is talking about health care, but there's something even more central to this election: wealth care. That's right, the care given so solicitously to the Rich-publicans by their sycophants in both parties. Before anything can change, the people in Congress have to go. They need to lose all their exorbitant benefits (retirement, free health care, etc) and there needs to be strict limits on campaign spending and lobbying. The whole system in Washington is based on greed facilitated by the "wealth care" crisis.

    August 14, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. SafeJourney

    GOP, you better lock Sununu up before he completly destroys whatever is left of the GOP

    August 14, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    If the Medicare voucher system is such a good idea, then why don't they implement it right away? Why do they want to wait a decade before implementing it? Why? Because if they implement it now, then they would lose the senior vote. That's why. If and when they get it passed into law, then it doesn't matter anymore when they actually implement it.

    August 14, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    Seniors should be warned that Romney/Ryan's next target is Social Security.

    August 14, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Four and The Door

    The talent, experience and capability of the Romney/ Ryan team is overwhelming when compared to that of Obama/ Biden. Americans are recognizing that we do not have to settle for higher taxes, high unemployment, huge and growing national debt and entitlement programs that are going broke. But you can't blame Obama/ Biden 2012 for trying with all of their resources to attack this new foe. You just have to recognize it for what it is. A sad show of desperation on their way out after a frustrating 4 year effort. But it is time to move forward and Americans see that. Romney/ Ryan 2012.

    August 14, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. 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. Why does the press let these critics off the hook when they have nothing of there own? They should be ridiculed and not considered serious or worthy of response until they are mature enough to produce what they are criticizing others for. The Democrats are a joke but since the LSM is on their side, they get a pass.

    August 14, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. Ayn Rand(author of 'Selfishness is a Virtue') was an atheist, so doesn't make her disciple, Paul Ryan, "ANTI-CHRIST"?

    A couple of facts my senior friends may want to remember, but will not hear from the RNC:

    1. Romney will repeal and replace Obamacare on "day 1" YOU do realize, YOU will once again be on the hook for the Medicare "donot hole" on "day 2"?

    2. The $700 billion "GUTTING of Medicare" the RNC CLAIMS is being done by President O, the same 700 billion dollar "GUTTING of Medicare" is in the Ryan Medicare budget! That’s right, there are NO benefit deletions, ONLY FUTURE cuts to big pharma, providers and insurance subsidies over a 10 year period that will comprise the 700 billion.

    President O wants to use the 700 billion to help pay for health insurance for the uninsured, Team Rolls/Royce want to fund tax cuts for their "job creators" friends.

    3. Team Rolls/Royce will add "vouchers" for Medicaid, of about $8,000 and guess who uses two thirds of Medicaid?

    Indigent elderly folks living in nursing homes, and how far will 8K go for an annual stay about in a nursing home, about 3 months, so tell your kids you are headed home to their house for the other 9(YOU could go with the GOP's "Plan B" but that involves a gun, is very unsightly and will put the grand kids in therapy for years).

    Of course, you COULD believe the GOP when they say the budget will not affect anyone currently on Medicare or you could listen to me and verify that my info is factual.

    So now you know, choose wisely!

    August 14, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. truth hurts

    >Rudy NYC - If the Medicare voucher system is such a good idea, then why don't they implement it right away?

    Obama is... with Obamacare.

    August 14, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |

    Mitt Romney Miami Campaign Event Held At Juice Shop Owned By Convicted Cocaine Trafficker

    Now we find out Mitt Romney has blo od on his hands in El Salvador.In
    addition to the de ath squad money he also took money from Michael

    August 14, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |

    Romney/Ryan =Tax Evasion Aholes+fox=GOP

    So how does a career politician get rich?

    answer budgeting the budget on the backs of the middle class

    Make Politicians Take a Pay Cut Before Cutting Money from Education and Social Services!

    Hey they should cut their own benefits and services. no more
    lifetime benefits for 4 years of service! They should NOT be getting
    lifetime health coverage when they have the money to pay on their own!

    Why Not Have congress/senate Paid By Minimum-Wage? Ban ALL forms of fundraising/lobbyist for any purpose. that is what has destroyed our government. Politicians have no idea what it means to live like the majority of americans, or the people they represent. maybe changing how they live might change their priorities

    August 14, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. Jeff - Sarasota, Florida

    It amazes me how they ignore the fact that the 700 billion cut in tha ACA (Obamacare) is for the frivilious over charging and that it will not effect medicare as we know it in any way (FACTS)... Not only that, but it drops 700 BILLION off the budget as it will be cut altogether (FACT)... If that isn't a win/win I don't know what is...

    Stop over paying and cut the debt, same as Ryan's Medicare plan cuts, but Mitt doesn't want to do it... All he wants to keep of the Ryan plan is the voucher system so you can try to find your own insurance with the little bit they give you ("as a fixed-amount benefit to each senior that he or she can use to purchase an insurance plan.")... In the meantime, they are going to make other changes, like cuts for prescriptions and other things...

    August 14, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    GI Joe

    I don't intend to grit my teeth and put up with another republlcan lying every day for the next 4 or 8 years like we were forced to do when W was selected.

    I've had it with them. They lie to stay in practice.

    I'm with you. Been jerked around by these fools with their lies and their "you people" insults for too many months now. They can have their "cake", but I'm darned if I'm going sit back and watch them enjoy eating it.

    August 14, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. MaryM

    The GOP/Ryan medicare voucher dollars will never cover the rising cost of health care. If you want to reform , reform health care cost not medicare. Vouchers for medicare wont work. And Especially because the GOP/Ryan plan gives tax cuts to the wealthy.
    Also GOP , Newt was one of the first to propose vouchers for medicare way back in 1994. Bob Dole was tied to Newts vouchers for medicare and we all know what happened to Dole.

    August 14, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    GI Joe wrote:

    "This country was formed based on freedom of, for, and from religion."
    Go-oh-oh-oh, Joe!

    August 14, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. Four and The Door

    Rudy NYC
    If the Medicare voucher system is such a good idea, then why don't they implement it right away? Why do they want to wait a decade before implementing it? Why? Because if they implement it now, then they would lose the senior vote. That's why. If and when they get it passed into law, then it doesn't matter anymore when they actually implement it.
    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.

    August 14, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. myviewis

    Randy, San Francisco

    Seniors should be warned that Romney/Ryan's next target is Social Security.

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

    August 14, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. ohio

    Romney/Ryan will be the end of influencial America across the globe.
    Not only that they will destroy this country. Senoirs, college students, women
    better be voting for themselves in november and vote democrat or many of us
    are completely done–and many of us who have worked very hard to get where we are.
    I really do fear what will become of this country of Romney wins.

    August 14, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |

    So I guess romney the tax cheat doesn't know how to communication with the public ,and he wants to be president?????????

    August 14, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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