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Robert Reich: Whose Plan Destroys Medicare — Obama’s or Romney-Ryan’s?

August 15, 2012

Mitt Romney has charged that the Affordable Care Act will make massive cuts in Medicare. Is he right?

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Image from Flickr via davelawrence8

By Robert Reich
By arrangement with Robert Reich

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.

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 Affordable Care Act uses its Medicare savings to help children and lower-income Americans afford health care, and to help seniors pay for prescription drugs … The Romney-Ryan plan uses the savings to finance even bigger tax cuts for the very wealthy.

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 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 health care, and to help seniors pay for prescription drugs by filling the so-called “donut 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.

Author Image

Robert B. Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton.

Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future; The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, Beyond Outrage. His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org.

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