“If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth.”—President Obama
At the first debate, Mitt Romney repeated the false claim that President Obama made $716 billion in cuts to Medicare and has no plan to protect the program. This falsehood has been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked by independent fact-checkers—the $716 billion doesn’t cut benefits and doesn’t harm beneficiaries. The facts show that Obamacare reduces the rate of growth in Medicare spending by eliminating waste and inefficiencies, adding an additional eight years of solvency to the program while guaranteeing that every benefit remains in place.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, admitted once again that he would turn Medicare into a voucher system, which could raise retirees’ annual costs by more than $6,000 a year based on an analysis of his current plan. Romney’s categorically false attack cannot hide the fact that he and Paul Ryan would force seniors to pay more out of pocket for their Medicare benefits. And in addition to increasing beneficiaries’ costs, Romney’s plan could actually bankrupt Medicare by 2016.
The AARP endorsed Obamacare because it extends the life of Medicare by nearly a decade by reducing unnecessary insurance company subsidies and rooting out waste and fraud. President Obama’s reforms target wasteful programs and ensure that taxpayer money is efficiently filtered back into the health care system, allowing seniors to get preventive care without copays and pay less out of pocket for prescription drugs. In fact, by 2020, the “doughnut hole”—or coverage gap in Medicare Part D—will be eliminated.
Mitt Romney is resorting to such blatant distortions because he knows his plan to voucherize Medicare is extremely unpopular with seniors—after all, who wants to see their benefits diminish while their health care costs skyrocket?