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Senior Citizen Politics

Medicare Moves Into Spotlight of Presidential Race; Poll Finds Obama More Trusted

AARP upset that Medicare, Social Security or not on agenda for first presidential debate on Oct. 3; Medicare topic today at AARP meeting in New Orleans

Sept. 21, 2012 – Just as both presidential campaigns are shifting more of their focus to Medicare, the Commission on Presidential Debates has announced that this hot issue for senior citizens is not listed as a topic for the first presidential debate. AARP has issued a statement urging that “retirement security issues be directly addressed.” A new USA Today /Gallup Poll shows President Barack Obama is more trusted to address Medicare issues than Mitt Romney.

The Republicans are fighting back and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, noted for proposing Medicare shift to a voucher system, speaks today to an AARP meeting in New Orleans. But, Medicare is not getting a lot of attention in the senate and house campaigns outside of Washington, according to the AAPR Blog.

Jim Lehrer, the moderator of the first 2012 presidential debate, is allowed to select the topics under the umbrella theme set for the debate, which is “domestic policy.”

Although the CPD notes the it retains the right to make changes “because of news development.

Here are the topics selected by Lehrer for the October 3 debate, not necessarily to be brought up in this order:

   ● The Economy - I

   ● The Economy - II

   ● The Economy - III

   ● Health Care

   ● The Role of Government

   ● Governing

AARP: Presidential Debates Must Address Social Security, Medicare

Washington, DC – Reacting to the announcement of topics for the first 2012 Presidential candidate debate, AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond today issued the following statement urging that retirement security issues be directly addressed:

“We are dismayed that the outline for the October 3rd debate omits any mention of Social Security and Medicare. Any meaningful discussion of the economy and this year’s election has to include the future of these critical retirement security programs.

“Our research shows that voters age 50-plus are driven by economic anxieties that extend well beyond the single issue of jobs. For these voters, ‘retirement security’ and ‘financial security’ are largely the same thing.

“They overwhelmingly think the candidates have not done a good job of explaining their plans on Social Security and Medicare, and say that learning the candidates’ plans to strengthen these programs will help their presidential voting decision.

“Remember that millions of American families are counting on Social Security and Medicare to be there for them, today and for decades to come. A critical opportunity to address their concerns is missed if the debates fail to explicitly address retirement security issues.

“The next President and Congress could determine the future of Medicare and Social Security, and Americans want and deserve to know the candidates plans’ for strengthening retirement security in this country.”


The debate will be held on Wednesday, October 3 at the University of Denver in Denver, CO. The format calls for six 15-minute time segments, each of which will focus on one of the issues listed above.

Below is a summary by Kaiser Health News of some of the reports from around the U.S. today on Medicare and the presidential campaign.


Related Archived Stories


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Aug. 14, 2012

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

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Aug. 13, 2012

Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Premiums to Remain Steady for Third Year

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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

Read more on Politics for Senior Citizens


USA Today: Romney Fights On Medicare But Obama Retains Advantage
President Obama remains more trusted to address Medicare's challenges, the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of Swing States shows, even as Mitt Romney challenged him over the issue Thursday in retiree-rich Florida (Page, 9/20).

The Wall Street Journal: Headwinds For Romney In Latest Poll Results
The three state surveys come amid a broader set of challenges for Mr. Romney, among them the release of his videotaped comments at a Florida fundraiser. The Romney campaign moved Thursday to shift its focus to federal spending and its proposal to overhaul Medicare, the popular health-care program for seniors and the disabled. Rep. Ryan speaks to seniors' lobby AARP in New Orleans on Friday. Mr. Obama will address the group by satellite (O'Connor and Hook, 9/20).

Politico: Paul Ryan To Hit 'Obamacare' At AARP
In a speech Friday to a powerful senior citizens' interest group, Paul Ryan will again go on the offense on Medicare, addressing an issue that many say is among his biggest liabilities on the GOP ticket. According to excerpts provided by the campaign ahead of his speech to the AARP national conference in New Orleans, Ryan will attack in detail President Barack Obama's health care plan, and argue that "the first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare" (Summers, 9/21).

CBS: Ryan To Challenge Obama On Medicare At AARP
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, whose plans for Medicare are under attack by President Obama and other Democrats, will promise an honest conversation on entitlements in a speech at an AARP conference Friday in New Orleans, just after Obama addresses the group by satellite.

"You're right to worry that years of empty promises by both political parties are threatening the security of your golden years. And you're right to demand honest answers from those asking for your vote. Mitt Romney and I share your concerns," Ryan will say.

"And we respect you enough to level with you. We respect all the people of this country enough to talk about the clear choices we face on Medicare, Social Security, the economy, and the kind of country our children will inherit" (Kaplan, 9/21).

CNN: Paul Ryan To Seniors: Obamacare Threatens Medicare
In a speech to seniors on Friday, Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan will warn them about the threat of Obamacare when he appears at the AARP conference after President Barack Obama addresses the group via satellite. Mitt Romney’s running mate will speak at the AARP Life@50+ conference, held in New Orleans, at 12:30 p.m. ET. President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak live, via satellite, at 11:45 a.m. ET. Members of AARP – a nonprofit organization and a powerful lobbying group that boasts of having more than 37 million members – were encouraged to submit questions to the nominees on their website (Shepard, 9/21).

The Associated Press: Obama Medicare Plan: No Voucher But Maybe A Bill
He'll never turn Medicare into a voucher, but if you are lucky enough to be financially comfortable in retirement, odds are you'll pay higher premiums under President Barack Obama's plan. It's not just the 1 percent who'll feel the pinch. And take note, baby boomers: The Medicare you get won't be quite as generous as what your parents' generation enjoys. A higher deductible here, a new co-payment there, and the tweaks add up (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/20).

This news summary is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here.

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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