One way or another, Barack Obama, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney all have supported the $700 billion in cuts to Medicare spending now in place under the Affordable Care Act.
But you wouldn’t know that by listening to the current debate.
The Romney-Ryan campaign in its latest TV ad assails Obama for approving the cuts in 2010. “Obama has cut $716 billion dollars from Medicare,” says the narrator. “The money you paid for your guaranteed health care…is going to a massive new government program that’s not for you.”
Voters might be left with the impression that Romney and Ryan have both opposed the cuts. The truth is that Ryan himself endorses them in his signature budget plan – the same plan Romney has said he would sign as president if it reached his desk.
Those Medicare savings -achieved through reduced provider reimbursements and curbed waste, fraud and abuse, not benefit cuts – appear in the House Republicans’ FY 2013 budget, which Ryan authored.
His plan would in part repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act — except the reductions in Medicare spending now at the center of debate, according to analysts with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
Where Romney and Ryan find shelter for their new line of attack is in what they claim they’d do with the savings. As the ad suggests, they don’t want the money to underwrite Obamacare, but for deficit reduction or other spending instead.
“We’re the ones who are not raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare,” Ryan said tonight in his first solo interview with Fox News Channel’s Brit Hume.
But in an added twist through all of this – further complicating the picture in a way that voters might not be aware – Romney asserts that the Romney-Ryan ticket is running on his budget proposal, not Ryan’s, and he would restore those cuts.
“Did you know that he’s taken $716 billion out of the Medicare trust fund? He’s raided that trust fund. And you know what he did with it? He’s used it to pay for Obamacare, a risky, unproven federal government takeover of health care,” Romney said on the stump in Ohio today.
“And if I’m President of the United States, we’re putting the $716 billion back,” he said.