Mitt Romney is attacking President Obama for failing to gut the social safety net for seniors, painting his own plans for Social Security and Medicare as the more common-sense approach. In a statement to reporters yesterday, Romney said:
“The president has failed to offer a single serious idea to save Social Security and is the only president in modern history to cut Medicare benefits for seniors. I believe we can save Social Security and Medicare with a few common-sense reforms, and —unlike President Obama—I’m not afraid to put them on the table.”
But Americans searching for common sense are unlikely to find it in Romney’s plans for Medicare and Social Security. Instead of shoring up the safety net for seniors, Romney would fundamentally gut these programs and force seniors to pay more out of pocket to cover the ever-increasing cost of health care:
Romney’s budget plan, a version of the “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan proposed by Congressional Republicans and supported by Romney, would require deep cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Center for Budget Policy Priorities said that the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan would effectively prohibit any revenue increases to relieve the need for cuts, and calls the plan “one of the most ideologically extreme pieces of major budget legislation to come before Congress in years, if not decades.”
Romney supports a plan to convert Medicare into a voucher program, a move that would not only end Medicare as Americans know it today but would force seniors to pay twice as much for health care. In 2022, a typical 65-year-old senior would actually pay $6,400 more out of pocket than they would under the current system.
Romney’s plan is to cut Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age and implementing means-testing. Analysis of a similar plan sowed it would cut the program by up to 40 percent for current workers, cutting the average recipient’s benefit by 30 percent and by nearly $400 a month. And policy experts have shown that even raising the retirement age by two years would force seniors to pay even more to cover their health costs.
By forcing seniors to pay more out of pocket, Romney can fund his massive extension of the Bush tax cuts, which alone will cost $850 billion over 10 years. In fact, Romney’s tax plan would even cut taxes for millionaires by an average of $145,568, while increasing taxes on average for those making less than $40,000.
Unless they believe it means gutting Medicare and Social Security for those who need it most in order to enrich those who need it least, America’s seniors will recognize little of Romney’s version of “common sense.”