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Senior Citizen Politics

Media Spotlight Turns to Medicare in U.S. Presidential Race: New Twist Every Hour

Summary of news coverage – everyone will know a lot more about Medicare and Medicaid

Aug. 15, 2012 – Medicare – a top political issue for senior citizens – has taken front and center in the U.S. presidential race following the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as the Republican vice presidential running mate of Mitt Romney. Some of the highlights of news coverage include the backing away by both Republican candidates from some of the Medicare proposals included in the budget proposal of the House Republicans that was authored by Rep. Ryan.

News outlets report that both presidential campaigns are accusing the other of undermining the insurance program for the elderly and disabled, and they attempt to separate fact from fiction. First summaries below pertain to Medicare and the second section with Medicaid.


Related Stories


Pew Says Older Americans Highly Resistant to Medicare Changes, Ryan Plan

Survey in June 2011 found just 33% of senior citizens think Medicare needs major changes or to be completely rebuilt

Aug. 14, 2012

Romney's Choice of Rep. Ryan Key to Politics of Campaign Medicare Debate

Senior citizen issues like Medicare and Social Security take center stage in presidential race as GOP's Romney picks vp with controversial ideas on entitlements - see video

Aug. 13, 2012

Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Premiums to Remain Steady for Third Year

Annual enrollment period begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7, 2012

Aug. 7, 2012

Cuts by Affordable Care Act in Medicare Payments to Advantage Plans Did No Harm

Medicare Rights Center releases report: doomsayers wrong saying a reduction in plan payments would increase costs, decrease benefits, diminish plan choices

June 28, 2012

Revamping Medicare: A Guide to the Proposals, Politics and Timeline

Immediate pressure is to reduce the deficit by the end of this year to stop automatic 2 percent spending cuts from going into effect in 2013

By Marilyn Werber Serafini, KHN Staff Writer

President Barack Obama and Rep. Paul RyanApril 5, 2012

Republicans Push New Budget Proposal Changing Medicare, Cutting Deeply into Medicaid: Media Views

Health on the Hill video examines changes in GOP proposal, Summaries of news reports from across American - see video

March 21, 2012

New Ryan Budget Would Drastically Transform Medicare, Medicaid With Cuts

GOP again pushes for senior citizens to buy private insurance but makes modification to previous proposal to allow room for traditional Medicare - See video - March 21, 2012

Medicare Commission Wants Some Cuts, Equalization, End to How Doc Fees Decided

MedPAC tells Congress it also wants changes in low-income drug assistance to encourage more genetics

March 19, 2012

Presidential Candidates Court Senior Citizens with Positions on Medicare

Romney would give seniors money to buy insurance; Obama would keep program, reduce the cost

By Marilyn Werber Serafini, KHN Staff Writer

Feb. 15, 2012

Election Year Politics, Renewing Older Americans Act Play Key Roles for Seniors in 2012

NCOA says entitlements are top priorities but sees no major changes this year

Jan. 25, 2012

Read more on Politics for Senior Citizens


The New York Times: Obama-Ryan Battle Intensifies Over Medicare Savings
Representative Paul D. Ryan's budget blueprint assumes the same amount of Medicare savings as President Obama's health care law, even though Mitt Romney and Mr. Ryan have said those cuts would be devastating to millions of older Americans on Medicare ... Mr. Obama would use the savings to help offset the cost of covering the uninsured, as well as to improve the financial condition of the Medicare trust fund. Mr. Ryan says he would use the money to shore up Medicare and to help reduce budget deficits (Pear, 8/14).

Politico: Beneath 'Mediscare' Talk, Who's Right?
So you can forget about that high-minded "adult conversation" about entitlement spending that everyone says we ought to have. Obama doesn't want it, Romney doesn't want it and the National Republican Congressional Committee officially took it off the table this week with a memo advising candidates not to even utter the words "entitlement reform." What we'll get now is three months of "Mediscare" — with Republicans and Democrats warning daily that the other guy would throw grandma off the cliff (Haberkorn, 8/14).

The Wall Street Journal: Medicare Highlights Divide On GOP Ticket
With Medicare now at the center of the presidential campaign, an emerging point of contention is the $716 billion reduction over 10 years in the program's growth enacted as part of President Barack Obama's health-care law. What makes this battle unusual is the lineup on each side. Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan this year incorporated the Obama cuts. But presumed Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who just tapped Mr. Ryan as his running mate, says the cuts will gut Medicare, and he is pledging to repeal them (Landers, 8/14).

National Journal: Ryan Renounces Medicare Cuts That Were Part Of His Budget
Rep. Paul Ryan, in a Fox News interview that aired on Tuesday evening, renounced $716 billion in cuts to Medicare that were part of his fiscal 2013 budget. That assertion helps strengthen an attack line on President Obama's health reform law that had been partially undermined by the details of Ryan's controversial budget proposal. In the interview, the House member from Wisconsin said he now favors overturning the health reform law in its entirety, including its budget-saving measures (Sanger-Katz, 8/14).

National Journal: Obama And Romney On Medicare: The Basics
Here's a breakdown of the major features of the two candidates' plans for the program, laying out how each would change life for current and future beneficiaries, and where future budget savings are achieved. OBAMA/BIDEN: President Obama has already spelled out his vision for Medicare reform in his 2010 health reform law. The law pares back about $700 billion in Medicare growth over the next 10 years through several mechanisms and launches some payment reforms designed to reduce wasteful use of health care by beneficiaries. … ROMNEY/RYAN: There are some small differences between Romney and Ryan's proposals on Medicare, but they share a basic core — the assertion that competition and choice can drive down costs more effectively than a government monolith (Sanger-Katz, 8/14).

McClatchy Newspapers: Paul Ryan's Plan For Medicare Sets Stage For Campaign Debate
Even before Romney selected his running mate, his website touted Medicare-restructuring ideas similar to Ryan's. Both men support the idea of giving future retirees a fixed amount of money and letting them choose whether to spend it in traditional Medicare fee-for-service programs or use it to buy private insurance (Hall, 8/14).

ABCNews: FACT CHECK: Obama, Ryan, Romney Backed Medicare Cuts
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 (Tapper/Dwyer/Walshe, 8/14).

Ryan's Medicaid Proposals Emerge As Campaign Issue

News outlets report that the changes to Medicaid proposed by likely GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan would have immediate and far-reaching consequences for millions of people, including poor seniors.

The Washington Post: Medicaid Shapes Up As Major Battleground
Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate has reignited a debate over the future of Medicare. But Ryan's proposed cuts to Medicaid, the other huge federal health program, could have quicker and more far-reaching consequences, with the potential to dramatically affect state budgets and health care for millions of people (Somashekhar, 8/14).

Kaiser Health News: FAQ: Ryan's Plan Would Make Key Changes In Medicaid, Too
Under Ryan’s plan, the federal share of Medicaid spending would become a block grant indexed for inflation and population growth. States would have more flexibility over who is covered and what benefits are offered. ... Opponents of Ryan's plan say it would lead states to reduce enrollment, cut benefits or require more cost-sharing from beneficiaries (Carey, 8/14).

The Associated Press: The Other Paul Ryan Plan: $800B In Medicaid Cuts
Rep. Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare gets all the attention, but the GOP vice presidential candidate has proposed more fundamental changes to medical care for the poor and disabled. Under the Wisconsin congressman's Medicaid plan, states would take over the program. Simultaneously, Ryan's proposed budget would reduce projected federal spending by about $800 billion over 10 years, shrinking Medicaid as a share of the overall national economy. The plan has passed the Republican-led House two years in a row (Zaldivar, 8/15).

Bloomberg: Medicaid Cuts Ryan Doesn't Tout Would Limit Aid To Poor Seniors
Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare wouldn't affect today's seniors. His Medicaid proposal would. While the Republican vice-presidential candidate is careful to avoid touching Medicare benefits for anyone at or near retirement, his budget would impose immediate cuts to Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor that funds nursing-home care and other benefits for 6 million U.S. seniors. "It's very easy to forget about these people," said Howard Gleckman, a resident fellow at the Urban Institute, a Washington-based policy research group. "It's a big, big cut" (Faler, 8/14).


Some of this information is reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


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