Even as President Obama accuses Mitt Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan of trying to privatize and “voucherize” Medicare, his administration crows about the success of private health plans in delivering prescription drug benefits and other services to Medicare beneficiaries.
Just in time for the start of the Republican National Convention this week, Romney’s team is out with an ad spot featuring clips of Barack Obama in the 2008 election geared at nailing the label of Medicare-slasher on Obama. The commercial shows Obama attacking John McCain for his plan to make cuts in Medicare. Amusingly, Obama’s rationale at the time was strikingly similar to the one the Romney campaign is using for its Medicare-themed attacks on Obama.
President Obamas campaign rolled out ads directly targeting seniors and veterans. In other campaign news, Politico analyzes Mitt Romneys decision to highlight his record as a businessman rather than his accomplishments as Massachusetts governor. The New York Times: "President Obamas campaign on Wednesday rolled out two new ads promoting his achievements, part of a $25 million advertising effort that his campaign unveiled this month. In one ad, titled Personal, Mr. Obamas campaign brags about efforts the president has made to protect Medicare from scams and fraud, and says he is working to preserve Medicare now and for the future. The ad cites the presidents upbringing by his grandparents to suggest that his desire to protect health care for the elderly is an important matter to him personally."
Given the emphasis both parties are placing on health care as a defining political issue, their contrasting approaches to the government-run health insurance program serving 49 million people are certain to command considerable attention in both the presidential and Congressional campaigns. President Obama illustrated the importance he is placing on Medicare when he vowed this month: “I will never allow Medicare to be turned into a voucher that would end the program as we know it. We’re not going to go back to the days when our citizens spent their golden years at the mercy of private insurance companies.” Mr. Romney, who would limit the government’s current open-ended financial commitment to Medicare, contends that Mr. Obama has no workable plan. Under the Romney proposal, the government would contribute a fixed amount of money on behalf of each beneficiary, and future beneficiaries could use the money to buy private insurance or to help pay for traditional Medicare.
Barack Obama has slashed Medicare by $500 billion. Mitt Romney and House Republicans want to end Medicare. And a new board is going to ration care so Washington can waste more money. Believe any of that? You shouldn’t. But it’s what the political ads likely will be saying between now and Election Day in November.