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Politics / Issues

Mitt on Medicare

romneyNPR_0.jpg
NPR

Some Tampa Bay area voters received a flier in the mail today from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan titled, "A Plan to Save and Strengthen Medicare and Social Security.''

The delivery coincides with the final session of the Republican National Convention, and the night Romney and his platform take center stage.

Inside the smooth pamphlet are harsh criticisms of President Obama.

"Barack Obama. The only president in history to raid Medicare of $716 billion.''

Opponents argue the $716 billion is actually the amount of savings Obama's plan, known as the Affordable Healthcare Act, eventually will bring.

Following this hotly-contested statement is more talk on Obama's path of "debt and decline.''

And that he has "no plan to strengthen Medicare for future generations.''

What's Romney's plan?

"Preserve benefits for today's seniors,'' the flier reads. "Make Medicare work for tomorrow's seniors. Protect our future.''

His campaign website offers details, such as:

  • Changing nothing for current seniors or those nearing retirement
  • Offering those 55 and younger a fixed-amount benefit that they can use to purchase private insurance
  • If they choose a more expensive plan, seniors have to make up the difference. If the plan is cheaper, they can use the rest of their benefit to cover other expenses.
  • Still allowing the purchase of a traditional Medicare plan, but at a fee for service
  • Seniors with lower incomes will receive higher benefits than wealthier seniors

Time will tell if Romney will go after Obama's Medicare plan with as much vigor as his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan did on Wednesday.

One thing is certain. Tonight is Romney's chance to shine, to introduce himself and his family and to talk about being Mormon, Bain Capital and how someone like him can understand what the economy has done to middle-class America.

But with recent political polls showing Romney with a slight edge over Obama, the Republican presidential candidate may need to talk a lot about Medicare to win Florida.

From today's story by Boston Globe reporter Michael Kranish: "The election could be determined by which party succeeds in defining the stakes for older Americans.

" Seniors, once thought to be reliably Democratic, have been trending Republican in recent years.''