MELBOURNE, Fla. - Courting senior voters in the key swing state of Florida, President Obama today ramped up his attack against Mitt Romney's Medicare plan, saying the GOP presidential nominee would increase health care costs for retired Americans and bankrupt the popular entitlement program.
"I want you to know, Florida, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher," Obama told roughly 3,000 supporters packed into a gymnasium at the Florida Institute of Technology. "That is going to be part of what's at stake in this election.
"Their voucher plan for Medicare would bankrupt Medicare," he said. "Our plan strengthens Medicare. No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of the insurance companies. They should retire with the dignity and the respect and the care that they earned."
Under the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan, seniors beginning in 2023 would receive payments to buy private health insurance or traditional Medicare.
"They want to give the money back to the insurance companies and then put them in charge of Medicare," Obama said.
The president pounced on a new analysis by the left-leaning Center for American Progress that found that, under the Romney plan, seniors turning 65 in 2023 would see their health care costs increase by $59,500 during retirement.
"One report just said that by the end of the next decade, our opponent's plan would mean as much as $16 to $26 billion in new profits for insurance companies," Obama said. "So basically, your costs would rise by the thousands so that their profits can rise by billions."
Putting a face on the Medicare debate, the president this morning made a surprise stop for breakfast with two retired couples at the Ossorio Bakery and Café in Cocoa, Fla.
"After a lifetime of work, they've been able to save enough to have a comfortable retirement, but that's only because Medicare is there, rock solid for them," he later explained at the rally. "Only because we have made that commitment that says if you work hard all your life then you should have some basic security, not to live lavishly, but to know it's going to be there for you."