- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
- Hillary: ‘Dead broke’ comment was ‘inartful,’ but insists it was ‘accurate’
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- Appeals court upholds Obamacare tax as constitutional
- As fighting in Gaza rages on, Kerry battles hapless bumbler perception
Medicare downplayed as GOP campaign issue
Polling in swing states rejects vouchers plan
Question of the Day
TAMPA, Fla. — The 2012 presidential election could hinge on Medicare, yet most lawmakers featured at the Republican National Convention gave it the silent treatment.
That may be because the issue hasn’t polled well so far for Republicans. A Quinnipiac University Poll released a few days before the convention showed that two-thirds of voters surveyed in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin — all swing states — prefer the current Medicare system to that advocated by vice presidential pick Paul Ryan, who has called for letting seniors use vouchers to buy a portion of their care on the private market.
Mr. Ryan was the architect of the Roadmap to Prosperity, a series of House bills that advocated reforming Medicare through market-based competition. The Romney-Ryan plan calls for restoring the $716 billion cut from Medicare to fund the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Nonetheless, it was clear that Republican strategists were reluctant to spend too much time explaining the details of the ticket’s Medicare reform ideas. Which is unfortunate, because Medicare could be a winning issue for Republicans, according to former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey.
“I don’t believe it’s a sticky issue,” said Mrs. McCaughey, author of “Obama Health Law: What It Says and How to Overturn It” (Encounter, 2010). “There was so little emphasis on Medicare, it puzzles me. I guess political professionals believe the American public can’t handle the facts, when in fact they’re hungry for the facts.”
Mrs. McCaughey spoke Monday as part of “Newt University,” a series of in-depth policy talks hosted by former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich during the convention. Her focus: the impact of Obamacare on Medicare.
Her presentation raised the specter of thousands of senior citizens being denied adequate health care under the Affordable Care Act, the result of its cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals. Democrats have said the reductions will come from waste, fraud and abuse, but Mrs. McCaughey said hospitals have historically dealt with cuts by cutting back on nursing shifts.
“Every study shows that hospitals respond to cuts by reducing the number of nurses, so when you push the button, nobody’s there,” said Mrs. McCaughey. “We have lots of evidence showing that when hospital payment rates are cut, seniors are less able to survive.”
Mr. Ryan did take aim at Obamacare in his speech, saying the president’s decision to raid Medicare to fund the Affordable Care Act means “an obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for.”
The Obama campaign struck back by denouncing Mr. Ryan’s comments and accusing him of wanting to replace Medicare payments with vouchers. The Ryan road map calls for allowing future Medicare recipients to pay for part of their health coverage with vouchers on the private market.
“Ryan said that he and Romney would save Medicare for future generations,” said Obama campaign blogger Melanie Garunay. “Their plan would actually replace Medicare as we know it with a voucher system — raising costs for seniors.”
What most voters don’t realize, Mrs. McCaughey said, is that in October, the Affordable Care Act begins rewarding hospitals that find ways to cut costs and penalizing hospitals that raise costs with demerits that lead to reductions in funding.
She said the time is ripe for Republicans to “get the facts out” by connecting the dots between Obamacare’s spending cuts and the predicted degradation in health care.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Westerners call for oversight to combat federal land managers
- Protesters rally in Colorado to support Israel's fight with Hamas
- Plagiarism scandal threatens Senate campaign of Montana Democrat John Walsh
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Act would create tax-free savings accounts for the disabled
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- GOP Senate candidate: Obama needs to visit Central America
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Hillary Clinton: I was indeed 'dead broke,' but shouldn't have said so
- Appeals court upholds Obamacare tax as constitutional
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Rush Limbaugh: 'There is no journalism anymore'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world