It was brutal. On CNN yesterday, Wolf Blitzer kept browbeating Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz until she would admitted that Paul Ryan’s plan preserves Medicare for those currently aged 55 years and older with no changes. Chuck Todd did the same thing to Roberts Gibbs on MSNBC after Gibbs falsely claimed the Ryan plan would kill his father. “Your father is not going to get that because they’re not going to do anything to him,” Todd correctly pointed out.
Todd and Blitzer are 100 percent correct. The Ryan budget only preserves and strengthens Medicare for those Americans that are currently receiving benefits and those that will begin to do so in the next 10 years. Only those who are 55 years or younger will be affected by the Ryan plan. And for those Americans, they will still be given a choice between the current Medicare system, and a new premium support system. In fact, Obamacare and the Ryan plan both budget the same amount of money for Medicare down the road. Both plans cap spending at the growth of domestic product +.5 percent.
Where the plans differ is how they try to achieve the Medicare savings. The Ryan plan uses the power of market competition to motivate providers to find ways to deliver health care more efficiently. Obama’s plan empowers a new government bureaucracy, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, to issue top down decrees on how providers must deliver health care. By law, IPAB can only propose cuts to health care providers, not beneficiaries.
And those health care provider cuts are not that far off under Obamacare. They start this coming January, when Medicare payments to doctors are set to be slashed by 31 percent. That’s right, by 31 percent. If you don’t think current Medicare beneficiaries are going to have trouble finding a doctor who will see them after the government starts paying those doctors 31 percent less, you probably failed Econ 101.
When Obamacare was first drafted, it did not cut Medicare spending so quickly. But to keep the final Obamacare price tag under $1 trillion, it allowed the scheduled cuts to occur. By contrast, Ryan’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget fully paid for doctor Medicare reimbursement payments.
Obama: Campaigning in Iowa, Obama announced a plan for the government to buy $170 million worth of meat — equivalent to about 10 hours’ worth of total U.S. output.
Romney: Campaigning in Florida, Romney attacked Obama on Medicare: “The president’s idea, for instance, for Medicare was to cut by $700 billion. That’s not the right answer. We want to make sure we preserve and protect Medicare.”
Ryan: The same hecklers that attacked Romney at the Iowa State fair last year, heckled Ryan this year. And a USA Today poll of registered voters shows that few Americans have heard of Ryan. Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, is seen as only a “fair” or “poor” choice by 42% of Americans vs. 39% who think he is an “excellent” or “pretty good” vice presidential choice. The poll also finds 17% of adults say they are more likely to vote for Romney in November because Ryan is his running mate — about the same impact Sarah Palin had for John McCain four years ago among registered voters.
Republican National Convention: Chris Christie will be the keynote speaker at the Republicans’ national convention party sources confirmed yesterday.
Debates: PBS’s Jim Lehrer will host the first presidential debate on Oct. 3 in Denver, Colo. CNN’s Candy Crowley will host the second, town-hall debate on October 16 in Hempstead, N.Y. CBS’s Bob Schieffer will host the third debate on Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla., according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. ABC’s Martha Raddatz will host the vice presidential debate on Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky.
In Other News
The Detroit News, U.S. to lose $25 billion on auto bailout: The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.
The Wall Street Journal, Syria’s Russian Connection: Syria’s embattled regime laid plans to use Russian banks as part of an emergency effort to sidestep American and European sanctions on oil and financial transactions, according to Syrian government documents and correspondence reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The New York Times, Young Immigrants, in America Illegally, Line Up for Reprieve: With their expectations soaring, millions of young illegal immigrants across the country are preparing to apply for a temporary reprieve from deportation that the Obama administration is offering.
USA Today, Gas prices surge across USA, now top $4 in California: Gas prices rose to $3.721 a gallon nationally for regular last week, up 8 cents from the week before according to the government’s weekly price survey. In the Golden State, the nation’s largest gasoline market, prices now top $4 a gallon.
Business Insider‘s Eric Platt shoots down a desperate lefty attempt to accuse Ryan of insider trading.
AEI‘s James Pethokoukis identifies 3 things every voter needs to know about Ryan’s Medicare plan.
Forbes‘ Avik Roy explains why the Democrats’ ‘Mediscare’ attack won’t work against Romney/Ryan.
Think Progress reports that Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has put out a statement confirming that while he agrees with Ryan on reforming Medicare, he does not support the rest of Ryan’s budget.
Charles Pierce attacks the Ryan Origin myth.
Talking Points Memo attacks the Myth Of Paul Ryan The Bipartisan Leader.