The Obama campaign is trying to convince voters that Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan would “end Medicare as we know it” — privatizing the whole system and costing seniors more than $6,000 extra a year. The only problem, Obama is going by the old Ryan plan from 2011. Ryan has since released an updated version, which also takes into consideration Democrat concerns.
While Ryan’s 2011 plan proposes to give seniors a government payment to buy private insurance, his 2012 plan offers seniors a choice.Under the blueprint, seniors could use the payment to buy private insurance or stay in traditional Medicare. Obama rarely speaks of this.
Last week in Davenport, Iowa, Obama again accused Romney-Ryan of wanting to “voucherize the Medicare system.”
“They want to turn Medicare into a voucher system,” he said. “That means seniors would no longer have the guarantee of Medicare — they’d get a voucher to buy private insurance. And if it doesn’t keep up with costs, well, that’s the seniors’ problem.” Fox News
Obama neglected to mention the traditional Medicare option. Under the plan, the two-tiered system would kick in a decade from now. Another distinction the campaign has chosen not to make is over the average cost to seniors. For months, Obama has cited an estimate that the Republican budget plan would cost Medicare seniors $6,400.
The liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities indeed estimated the old plan could cost seniors $6,400. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reached a similar conclusion.
However, the CBO this year said it “does not have the capability” to estimate the individual impact of the latest Ryan plan, though it cautioned “beneficiaries might face higher costs.” Fox News
Still new Obama ads use the old $6,400 figure. But the Medicare issue has led to exaggeration on both sides. Fact-check site Politifact rated the oft-repeated claim that Republicans voted to “end Medicare” as the “Lie of the Year” for 2011.
The same site, though, rebuked Romney for trying to use the same line against Obama. The Romney campaign has accused Obama of trying to dismantle Medicare by using billions in cuts to fund the federal health care overhaul. This, wrote Politifact, “takes some shreds of truth and combines them with worst-case-scenario speculations, then deploys overheated language.” Fox News