GOP budget plan's real target: Medicare

Romney and Ryan will cut more than $700 billion from Medicare to finance tax cuts for the wealthy


Robert Reich
August 14, 2012 6:52PM (UTC)
This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

Stumping in Florida yesterday, Mitt Romney charged President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will “cut more than $700 billion” out of Medicare.

What Romney didn’t say was that his running mate’s budget — approved by House Republicans and by Romney himself — would cut Medicare by the same amount.

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The big difference, though, is the Affordable Care Act achieves these savings by reducing Medicare payments to drug companies, hospitals, and other providers rather than cutting payments to Medicare beneficiaries.

The Romney-Ryan plan, by contrast, achieves its savings by turning Medicare into a voucher whose value doesn’t keep up with expected increases in healthcare costs — thereby shifting the burden onto Medicare beneficiaries, who will have to pay an average of $6,500 a year more for their Medicare insurance, according to an analysis of the Republican plan by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Moreover, the Affordable Care Act uses its Medicare savings to help children and lower-income Americans afford healthcare, and to help seniors pay for prescription drugs by filling the so-called doughnut hole in Medicare Part D coverage.

The Romney-Ryan plan uses the savings to finance even bigger tax cuts for the very wealthy.

Spread the word. Don’t allow the GOP to get away with this demagoguery.


Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

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