Growing more and more comfortable with brazenly dishonest attacks, Mitt Romney launched yet another misleading and hypocritical ad about Medicare. His latest ad, “Paid in,” falsely claims that Obamacare is cutting Medicare benefits. That claim is categorically untrue: The savings in Obamacare do not cut a single guaranteed benefit. By eliminating subsidies for insurance companies and cutting waste and fraud, the health care law actually strengthens Medicare benefits while adding eight years to its solvency. In fact, the savings Romney uses to attack President Obama for are the same exact policies that are included in the Ryan budget.
The ad is riddled with false and misleading claims that completely ignore reality. Here’s a breakdown of each claim Romney makes and the facts that undermine his rhetoric:
Romney’s ad: “You worked hard, paid in to Medicare. Now when you need it, Obama has cut $716 billion dollars from Medicare.”
The facts: False. Obamacare reduces the rate of growth in Medicare spending, with savings that eliminate waste and inefficiencies. The $700 billion is a projection of how the law reduces future spending over a period of 10 years. Every single guaranteed benefit remains in place.
Romney’s ad: Why? To pay for Obamacare.
The facts: No. President Obama’s reforms target wasteful programs and ensure that taxpayer money is efficiently filtered back into the health care system, allowing seniors to get preventive care without copays. The $700 billion in identified savings help extend the life of Medicare. In fact, the health care law adds an additional eight years of solvency to the program. Perhaps that’s why Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan actually included the exact same savings in his budget—a budget that Romney has fully embraced.
Romney’s ad: So now the money you paid for your guaranteed health care is going to a massive new government program that’s not for you.
The facts: Wrong. The health care law is not only a crucial component of Medicare’s solvency, it actually improves Medicare’s basic benefits package. Under Obamacare, seniors have access to free preventive care and will pay less and less out of pocket for prescription drugs. By 2020, the “doughnut hole”—or coverage gap in Medicare Part D—will be eliminated. In fact, the law “specifically protects seniors’ benefits.” Indeed, 33 million Americans have already benefited from free preventive health care benefits thanks to Obamacare.
Romney’s ad: The Romney-Ryan plan protects Medicare benefits for today’s seniors and strengthens the plan for the next generation.
The facts: Not even close. Under the Romney-Ryan plan, Medicare would be turned into a voucher program, forcing seniors to pay more out-of-pocket for their increasing health care costs. In fact, under a plan authored by Paul Ryan that Romney endorsed, a typical 65 year old would see their annual out-of-pocket costs more than double, increasing by $6,350.
Romney’s ad: I’m Mitt Romney, and I approved this message.
The facts: True. Mitt Romney has actually signed off on an ad that completely distorts the facts in order to mislead Americans about the President’s record on Medicare.
The bottom line is that, behind all the rhetoric and false attacks, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are offering the American people a clear choice in this election. Thanks to President Obama’s health care law, seniors now have access to free preventive health services, will pay less for their prescriptions, and will see less waste and fraud in a program that has eight more years of solvency. Under the Romney-Ryan plan, Medicare will be turned into a voucher program and new retirees will be forced to pay more out-of-pocket for the services they thought they could rely on.
This is the choice in this election, and it couldn’t be more clear.