Medicare takes center stage for Obama campaign in Florida
September 9th, 2012
02:09 PM ET
10 years ago

Medicare takes center stage for Obama campaign in Florida

Melbourne, Florida (CNN) – In the senior-heavy coastal city of Melbourne on Sunday, President Barack Obama, armed with a new study, continued to hammer the Republican plan to reform Medicare.

He highlighted a Harvard analysis, conducted by a former Obama adviser, that found seniors would pay more under the "Romney-Ryan plan," compared to his plan, which he said will strengthen the entitlement program.

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Obama said GOP nominee Mitt Romney wants to "give money back to insurance companies and put them in charge of Medicare."

"Their voucher plan for Medicare would bankrupt Medicare. Our plan strengthens Medicare," Obama told a crowd of 3,050 gathered at a sports and recreation center. "No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies."

The focus on Medicare on Sunday was the latest effort by the president and his campaign to turn up the noise around the program and throw Romney off his message on jobs and the economy, especially important as the president continues to make a play for the senior vote ahead of the November election.

The findings from David Cutler, a policy expert in the Clinton administration, showed health care costs for current and future seniors would dramatically increase should Rep. Paul Ryan's most recent budget plan become law.

Romney, who has made repealing Obamacare a central campaign promise, on Sunday said he would keep the more popular measures in the law, including allowing those under 26 years of age to remain on their parents' health care plans and guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

"There are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place," Romney said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

The Republican standard-bearers argue their plan would save Medicare in the long run by adding private sector competition. They often slam the president for failing to detail the changes he would make to the program.

Yet on Saturday, Obama senior adviser David Plouffe said the campaign will happily engage in a back and forth about Medicare.

"If they want to have a discussion about 'Who do you trust on Medicare?' for the next 60 days as their central argument, you know we ought to send them an in-kind contribution," Plouffe told reporters.

Obama's comments Sunday came on the second day of a bus tour through battleground Florida. Before arriving at the speech in Melbourne, Obama ate breakfast with two retired couples in Cocoa, Florida, including a former nurse, a retired minister, a businessman and a stay-at-home mom.

Medicare has occupied a larger role in the national campaign since Mitt Romney chose Ryan - the architect of the House Republican budget that included proposed changes to the program - as his vice-presidential running mate.

Team Obama has criticized the Republican ticket for supporting plans to turn part of Medicare into a voucher program, proposals the Democrats say would drive up costs for seniors. Team Romney has consistently hit Obamacare for its cuts to the program, which the GOP campaign claims will lead to its ruin for future generations.

Sunday's speech, particularly aimed at seniors, was just one of the appeals to special interest groups the president has made in the region. For Space Coast workers, he penned an op-ed in a local paper about plans to invest in space exploration. For students, he has played up his efforts to help bring down the cost of student loans.

Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams fired off a retort, accusing the president of “false attacks” and attempting to discredit the study cited by the Obama campaign.

“He (Obama) has done nothing to reform Medicare for the long haul and prevent it from going bankrupt,” Williams said. “The President’s decision to use discredited studies and outright falsehoods to attack Mitt Romney is an admission that he can’t talk about his record of crushing the middle class and failing to turn the economy around.”

Filed under: 2012 • Medicare • President Obama
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I am beginning to think that the 'birthers for vouchers' GOP does not represent the majority of Americans.

    September 9, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. dan

    As a Republican small business owner approaching Medicare age but under 55, the Romney Ryan plan offers me nothing but trouble and higher costs. Obamacare and medicare can be improved but they are a good start. Obama has my vote.

    September 9, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Russell Dee

    I like President Obama and I'm voting for him but I have to tell you that he's making a mistake on the campaign trail. President Obama is talking about how under the Romney/Ryan medicare plans (including the repeal of Obamacare) future retirees will pay more for medicare. He instead needs to focus on how today's seniors who are already retired will be paying more under the Romney/Ryan plan rather than talking about future retirees. Bill Clinton explained it in the speech Bill Clinton gave at the Charlotte DNC convention. Bill Clinton gets it – he talked about how the Romney/Ryan plan would hurt today's seniors by re-opening the doughnut hole, stop the free health screenings and decrease the length of time that medicare is solvent by 8 years. These are the things that would affect TODAY's seniors. Obama is wasting time talking about things that will affect future seniors. Today's seniors don't care about how future seniors will be affected. Today's seniors care about how Romney/Ryan's plan will affect today's seniors. President Obama is right on the issues but he does a very poor job of communicating his side of the story to voters.

    September 9, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. myviewis

    Of course former adviser to Obama will say Romney/Ryan =bad.
    Do we really think Clinton's policy expert, David Cutler, would have said Romney/Ryan=good????? How Dumb.

    September 9, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Wise1Speak


    . . . those who depend heavily on Medicare (like seniors in Florida) would vote their own interest and pull the lever for President Obama.

    However, in the bizarro world of Florida; the land of the hanging chads and "caked-faced Secretary of State Katherine Harris"; there is no explanation as to why seniors would even consider voting for Romney & Ryan who has all but guaranteed that he will kick millions of them off Medicare into an ineffective voucher program. Unbelievable?!?

    September 9, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Lee927

    Seniors listen up.........the Romney/Ryan plan will DESTROY Medicare as we know it. Don't let them tell you otherwise. President Obama will strengthen Medicare and will NOT take away your benefits or add additional costs of $6,400/year + unlike the voucher plan Romney/Ryan proposes.

    President Obama does have your best interests at heart!

    September 9, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. ColoradoJoe

    Also note; Ryan plagiarized the health care cuts from Obama's ACA committee, but didn't give credit back to them

    September 9, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Ancient Texan

    This is one old senior that will trust Romney/Ryan on Medicare coverage.....Obama is planning on doing away with Medicare and rolling all Seniors into Obamacare.

    September 9, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    Seniors cannot afford to gamble on the future of their health care by voting for Romney/Ryan. It should be a no brainer not to vote against their self interests. The Romeny Ryan voucher program is bad for the health of seniors!

    September 9, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. 1608

    Wit the voucher program, if i don't use it all this will it roll over?

    September 9, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Catmandew

    Americans should not be scared of DC but with Obama at the wheel our citizens will lose the American dream!

    September 9, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. -granny

    I am a senior citizen, I do not believe ANYTHING that bammy says.

    September 9, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Yonni

    Obama Save Grandma!
    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 9, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |