BY JOHN MCCORMACK, Aug. 11, 2012
Will the press let them get away with it?
Today, at 9:22 a.m., Obama campaign manager Jim Messina sent out an email blasting Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, Wisconsin congressman and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. “[Ryan's] plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors,” Messina wrote.
There are many reasons why Messina’s statement is tendentious, misleading, and false. The latest version of the Ryan Medicare reform plan allows future retirees use a premium support payment to buy private insurance or buy into traditional Medicare–a proposal endorsed by Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. Medicare will end “as we know it” under Obama’s plan of rationing and/or bankruptcy. But the most dishonest part of Messina’s statement is that it leaves the impression that the Ryan plan would affect current seniors. That is not true. Ryan’s Medicare reform doesn’t affect current seniors or those 10 years away from retirement.
Ryan justifies the delayed implementation of the plan because retirees or those near retirement have planned their lives around Medicare in its current form, and those under 55 will have more time to plan for some modest changes necessary to avert a fiscal crisis. Delayed implementation is also what makes Ryan’s plan politically viable. Voters 55 and over won’t be affected at all, so they really shouldn’t have anything to worry about. And the vast majority of voters under the age of 55 don’t believe big entitlement programs will even be around to pay them a benefit when they retire, as this Gallup poll on Social Security revealed: