Vice Presidential Debate Transcript

Share
Copy

And Social Security? If we don't shore up Social Security, when we run out of the IOUs, when the program goes bankrupt, a 25 percent across-the-board benefit cut kicks in on current seniors in the middle of their retirement. We're going to stop that from happening.

They haven't put a credible solution on the table. He'll tell you about vouchers. He'll say all these things to try and scare people. Here's what we're saying: give younger people, when they become Medicare eligible, guaranteed coverage options that you can't be denied, including traditional Medicare. Choose your plan, and then Medicare subsidizes your premiums, not as much for the wealthy people, more coverage for middle-income people, and total out-of-pocket coverage for the poor and the sick.

Choice and competition. We would rather have 50 million future seniors determine how their Medicare is delivered to them instead of 15 bureaucrats deciding what, if, when, where they get it.

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden, two minutes.

BIDEN: You know, I heard that death panel argument from Sarah Palin. It seems every vice presidential debate I hear this kind of stuff about panels.

But let's talk about Medicare. What we did is, we saved $716 billion and put it back, applied it to Medicare. We cut the cost of Medicare. We stopped overpaying insurance companies, doctors and hospitals. The AMA supported what we did. AARP endorsed what we did. And it extends the life of Medicare to 2024. They want to wipe this all out.

It also gave more benefits. Any senior out there, ask yourself: Do you have more benefits today? You do. If you're near the donut hole, you have $800 -- $600 more to help your prescription drug costs. You get wellness visits without co-pays. They wipe all of this out, and Medicare goes -- becomes insolvent in 2016, number one.

Number two, "guaranteed benefit"? It's a voucher. When they first proposed -- when the congressman had his first voucher program, the CBO said it would cost $6,400 a year, Martha, more for every senior, 55 and below, when they got there. He knew that, yet he got all the guys in Congress and women in the Republican Party to vote for it. Governor Romney, knowing that, said, I would sign it, were I there.

Who you believe, the AMA, me, a guy who's fought his whole life for this, or somebody who would actually put in motion a plan that knowingly cut -- added $6,400 a year more to the cost of Medicare?

Now they got a new plan: "Trust me, it's not going to cost you any more." Folks, follow your instincts on this one.

And with regard to Social Security, we will not -- we will not privatize it. If we had listened to Romney, Governor Romney, and the congressman during the Bush years, imagine where all those seniors would be now if their money had been in the market.

Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad, and they eliminate the guarantee of Medicare.

RYAN: Here's the problem. They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into a piggybank for Obamacare. Their own actuary from the administration came to Congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of this.

BIDEN: That's not what they said.

RYAN: 7.4 million seniors are projected to lose their current Medicare Advantage coverage they have. That's a $3,200 benefit cut.

BIDEN: That didn't happen.

RYAN: What we're saying...

BIDEN: More people signed up.

RYAN: These are from your own actuaries.

BIDEN: More -- more -- more people signed up for Medicare Advantage after the change.

RYAN: What -- there's...

BIDEN: Nobody is...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know...

BIDEN: No, this is...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don't keep interrupting each other.

BIDEN: Well, don't take all the four minutes then.

RYAN: Let me just -- let me just say this. We are not -- we're saying don't change benefits for people 55 and above. They already organized their retirement around these promises.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: ... programs for those of us.

RADDATZ: But let -- let me ask you this. What -- what is your specific plan for seniors who really can't afford to make up the difference in the value of what you call a premium support plan and others call a voucher?

RYAN: Hundred percent coverage...

RADDATZ: And what...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: That's what we're saying. So we're saying...

RADDATZ: How do you make that up?

RYAN: ... income adjusts (inaudible) these premium support payments by taking down the subsidies for wealthy people.

Look, this is a plan -- by the way, that $6,400 number, it was misleading then, it's totally inaccurate now. This is a plan that's bipartisan. It's a plan I put together with a prominent Democrat senator from Oregon.

BIDEN: There's not one Democrat who endorses it.

RYAN: It's a plan...

BIDEN: Not one Democrat who (inaudible).

RYAN: Our partner is a Democrat from Oregon.

BIDEN: And he said he does no longer support (inaudible).

RYAN: We -- we -- we put it -- we put it together with the former Clinton budget director.

BIDEN: Who disavows it.

RYAN: This idea -- this idea came from the Clinton commission to save Medicare chaired by Senator John Breaux.

Here's the point, Martha.

BIDEN: Which was rejected.

RYAN: If we don't -- if we don't fix this problem pretty soon then current seniors get cut. Here's the problem: 10,000 people are retiring every single day in America today and they will for 20 years. That's not a political thing, that's a math thing.

BIDEN: Martha, if we just did one thing, if we just -- if they just allowed Medicare to bargain for the cost of drugs like Medicaid can, that would save $156 billion right off the bat.

RYAN: And it would deny seniors choices.

BIDEN: All -- all -- all...

RYAN: It has a restricted...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Seniors are not denied.

RYAN: Absolutely.

BIDEN: They are not denied.

Look, folks, all you seniors out there, have you been denied choices? Have you lost Medicare Advantage.

RYAN: Because it's working well right now.

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Because we've changed the law.

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden, let me ask you, if it could help solve the problem, why not very slowly raise the Medicare eligibility age by two years, as Congressman Ryan suggests?

BIDEN: Look, I was there when we did that with Social Security in 1983. I was one of eight people sitting in the room that included Tip O'Neill negotiating with President Reagan. We all got together and everybody said, as long as everybody's in the deal, everybody's in the deal, and everybody is making some sacrifice, we can find a way.

We made the system solvent to 2033. We will not, though, be part of any voucher plan eliminating -- the voucher says, "Mom, when you're -- when you're 65, go out there, shop for the best insurance you can get. You're out of Medicare." You can buy back in if you want with this voucher, which will not keep pace -- will not keep pace with health care costs. Because if it did keep pace with health care costs, there would be no savings. That's why they go the voucher. They -- we will be no part of a voucher program or the privatization of Social Security.

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...