Romney Gives Medicare Lecture On Tarmac

Since the bulk of the spending cuts involved reduced payments to hospitals, drug companies and other service providers, restoring the original, higher rates could accelerate the path to bankruptcy, experts say -- at least until a Romney-Ryan plan to convert the program into a fixed-benefit, voucher-style program could be put in place.

"Gov. Romney's plan is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reforms that control cost throughout the health care system and extend the solvency of Medicare," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. "He will then implement real entitlement reform that places Medicare on a sustainable long-term footing so that future generations of Americans will not have to worry whether the program will be there for them."

Romney has only offered broad outlines of his plan, not yet detailing how it would work or how he would pay for it.

The Obama campaign has scented the confusion and pounced. Spokeswoman Lis Smith says "all we do know about Mitt Romney's plan is that he would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, which could increase health care costs by $6,400 a year."

That so-called "voucher system" is actually a hallmark of the Ryan plan, and Democrats have been working tirelessly to marry Romney to it. In it, Medicare would be privatized for the next generation of seniors (anyone under 55 years old). The government would stop paying doctors directly, instead giving patients money – in the form of vouchers – and allowed to spend it on a private provider of their choosing.

The space between the money allotted to patients and what the government would be projected to pay if Medicare kept on its current form is, according to the Congressional Budget Office, $6,358.97.

For now, Romney appears to be banking on winning the ear of wealthier older folks enrolled in Medicare Advantage programs that provide extra benefits for those who opt-in.

Paul Ryan will campaign in The Villages, Florida, Saturday. The "active retirement community" is one of the largest in the country. It has a heavy Republican population and is an active donor (as The Villages of Lake Sumpter, Inc.) to Romney Super PAC "Restore Our Future."

ABC News' Steven Portnoy, Shushannah Walshe and Chris Good contributed to this report.

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