To borrow a phrase from President Reagan, there they go again.
As soon as Mitt Romney announced Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate the Democrats again started with their debunked and discredited MediScare campaign. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called Ryan "the architect of the Republican plan to kill Medicare" in a fundraising message sent by DCCC Executive Director Robby Mook. A false charge that the left-leaning Politifact called the 2011 "lie of the year."
As pointed out by The Washington Examiner's Joel Gehrke, Politifact rebuked Democrats for engaging in such scare tactics:
"A complicated and wonky subject with life-or-death consequences, health care is fertile ground for falsehoods," the fact checker said. "The Democratic attack about 'ending Medicare' was a pervasive line in 2011 that preyed on seniors’ worries about whether they could afford health care."
The Democrats didn't stop there. Obama spokesman Jim Messina said Ryan’s plan "would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors." That is no more true than the DCCC's MediScare claim. As explained by Avik Roy, the Wyden-Ryan plan would only apply to Americans younger than 55 years of age, and gives those younger individuals the option of remaining in the traditional Medicare program, or choosing a comparable private-sector insurance plan.
On CNN’s "State Of The Union," Senior Advisor to Obama David Axelrod said the bipartisan plan authored by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan for reforming Medicare would put Medicare into a death spiral. Here is a transcript of the exchange between Crowley and Axelrod:
CROWLEY: "You describe him as extreme, so I want to take you back to a December 15th, Wall Street Journal op-ed which the Congressman wrote along with Senator Ron Wyden, who is seen as a member of your party, and seen certainly as a moderate to liberal Democrat, and the two of them together came up with a plan to help save Medicare, and they wrote: 'our plan would strengthen traditional Medicare by permanently maintaining it as a guaranteed and viable option for all of the nation's retirees.' So this extreme plan has been signed on to and one of the authors of it is a member of your own party, so why is that extreme?"
AXELROD: "Well, I just disagree with Senator Wyden on this, and Congressman Ryan and so have most of the experts who have looked at this and who've said that the way that the thing is constructed, that Medicare would be in a death spiral under this plan, and that ultimately it would raise costs on seniors by thousands of dollars."
You can watch the exchange here.
Anticipating such bogus claims from the Democrats Romney promised to "preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security" during his speech announcing Ryan as his vice presidential running mate.
Both ObamaCare and Ryan's plan make changes to Medicare: ObamaCare via of government rationing, and Ryan via direction of privatization. The ObamaCare law creates a new panel, called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will be composed of 15 unelected government officials. They will be charged with rationing care to seniors, primarily by underpaying doctors and hospitals.
Obama has cut Medicare more than Romney and Ryan would. According to the most recent estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare will reduce Medicare spending by more than $700 billion between 2013 and 2022, relative to prior law. These cuts directly affect current retirees. By contrast, both the Romney and Wyden-Ryan plans only affect retirees younger than 55.
The approach advocated by Ryan and Romney gives seniors more control over their own health dollars, allowing them to choose the plan that provides the best value for their money.
It's no wonder why the Romney campaign is looking forward to a fact-based debate about reforming Medicare. A campaign spokesman told me:
"The Romney campaign relishes this fight. There is only one person in this race who has already cut Medicare for seniors, and that is President Obama. ObamaCare cut Medicare for America’s seniors by $700 billion. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a bipartisan plan to strengthen Medicare for today and tomorrow’s seniors. Obama’s campaign has accused Mitt Romney of committing crimes and killing people, and now they have turned their smear campaign to Paul Ryan. They have lost all credibility."
You would think that after the Obamacrats passed the ever unpopular ObamaCare, which robs Medicare of more than $716 billion to fund ObamaCare, they wouldn't want to focus on the $700 billion Medicare cuts. You would be wrong. On Face the Nation this morning, Stephanie Cutter called Obama's $700 million in Medicare cuts stolen from taxpayers to fund ObamaCare an "achievement." You can watch her say it here.