For anyone who watched Romney/Ryan on 60 Minutes, you will have noted how slick Ryan is.
Updated with AP fact check:
ROMNEY: "Unlike the current president, who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion, we will preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security and keep them there for future generations."
THE FACTS: You could fill an arena with all the details left out in this statement. Ryan's reputation as a fiscal conservative is built on a budget plan that would overhaul the Medicare program and introduce a voucher-like plan that future retirees could use to buy private health insurance. Whether that results in a better or worse situation for Medicare recipients is a matter of debate. But under Ryan's plan, traditional Medicare would no longer be the health insurance mainstay, just one of many competing options.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the Ryan plan — which Romney endorsed in broad strokes in the past — would slow the increases in money for seniors. A typical 66-year-old would receive about 35 percent more than last year — $7,400 in 2011 dollars. Under current law, that person would probably receive at least 56 percent more in 2030, and quite possibly 75 percent more — $9,600 in 2011 dollars. The CBO said his plan grows spending for Medicare enrollees "at a much slower rate" than under current law or other policy scenarios. In Washington, a slower increase in spending is tantamount to a spending cut.
Romney's assertion that the team would preserve Social Security left out the fact that he proposes significant change. He would protect the status quo for people 55 and over but, for the next generations of retirees, raise the retirement age for full benefits by one or two years and reduce inflation increases in benefits for wealthier recipients. At least with this program, he has offered more specifics than President Barack Obama has in dealing with the entitlement's long-term financing shortfall, though neither has laid out a comprehensive solution.
As for his accusation that the president cut Medicare, Obama's health care law does cut billions from the Medicare Advantage program, hospitals and nursing homes, to pay for expanded insurance coverage. Read more
From Kaiser Health Foundation, a non partisan organization:
Q. What is Ryan’s latest Medicare plan?
Ryan would gradually raise the eligibility age of Medicare from 65 to 67 by 2034, and cap its spending increases at half a percentage point higher than the growth rate of the economy, or the gross domestic product. Ryan’s plan would provide a set amount of money annually for future Medicare beneficiaries -- those currently under age 55 -- to be used to purchase either a private health plan, or the traditional government-administered program through a newly created Medicare exchange.
Under the proposal all plans, including traditional Medicare, would submit bids for how much they would charge to cover a beneficiary's health care costs. All plans would include a minimum set of benefits equal to the value of those in the traditional program. The government would pay the full premium for the private plan with the second lowest bid, or for traditional Medicare, whichever is lower. Beneficiaries would have to pay the difference if they chose a plan that set rates higher. There could be one less expensive plan option, and beneficiaries who chose it would get a rebate for the difference.
Private health plans would have to offer coverage that is at least actuarially equivalent to that offered in the traditional, government-administered plan. That means that while the benefits could vary, the value of the plan would have to be the same.
Q. So seniors could stay in the traditional, government-run Medicare program if they like?
Ryan says that is the case, but Democrats and some critics argue that the plan would so fundamentally alter Medicare that it might no longer be a desirable – or affordable -- option.
"The real question is what it would cost," and whether seniors would pay more out of pocket than they do now, said Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He cited the risk the government-run plan would attract the sickest people, driving up its costs, while private plans would lure the healthiest. In addition, medical providers could abandon the program if Medicare cut their reimbursement rates to curb costs.
Q. Would the changes apply to current seniors?
Ryan’s plan would apply only to those under age 55. Current Medicare beneficiaries and those nearing eligibility would continue to get Medicare as it exists today.
Q. Would seniors pay more under Ryan’s plan?
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that Ryan's original proposal from 2012 would require a typical 65-year-old person to pay a lot more for Medicare by 2030. His latest plan is missing key details, however, so the CBO has been limited in its analysis of the impact. Although Ryan would give future seniors the option of remaining in the traditional, government-run Medicare program, that program would have to compete with private plans. Critics predict that traditional Medicare could become unaffordable if it attracts the sickest people who require more health care and who, therefore, drive up the program’s costs. KHN
Facts about Ryan's plan: 1) People will pay more 2) In theory, it will shrink the deficit. A primer from ABC:
That said, the Congressional Budget Office projected in 2011 that individuals would have to pay more under his plan, with their share of (albeit lower) costs skyrocketing to 61 percent by 2022. Read more
How it works:
If implemented, the government would no longer pay doctors to treat Medicare beneficiaries. Instead, beneficiaries would buy their own private insurance plans, and the government would give people money to pay to buy health plans from an approved list. Critics have called this the “end of Medicare as we know it,” and that’s true. Until now, Medicare has operated as a “fee-for-service” system; under Ryan’s plan, it would operate more like a voucher system, although Ryan and his aides have resisted this term. Medicare would cease to pay for health services directly, instead operating as a board that approves a menu of health plans for public sale and doles out predetermined lumps of money to people enrolled in Medicare, to help them buy those plans. ABC
From the Economist, which perhaps sums it up best:
PAUL RYAN'S plan to replace Medicare with a system of vouchers for seniors to buy health care on the private market has only been vaguely described, as of this writing. But there is one thing about it that's fairly clear, regardless of what's in the details Mr Ryan will announce today: Mr Ryan's plan ends the guarantee that all American seniors will have health insurance. The Medicare system we've had in place for the past 45 years promises that once you reach 65, you will be covered by a government-financed health-insurance plan. Mr Ryan's plan promises that once you reach 65, you will receive a voucher for an amount that he thinks ought to be enough for individuals to purchase a private health-insurance plan.
More facts about Ryan, including the fact that after his father passed away, he used Social Security survivor benefits to pay for college.
Note, Ryan also wants to privatize Social Security.
It appears that the addition of Ryan just means the double down of lies. Some more false claims:
Ryan on Romney: "As governor of Massachusetts, he worked with Democrats and Republicans to balance budgets with no tax increases, lower unemployment, increase income and improve people's lives."
THE FACTS: For a Massachusetts governor, balancing a budget is a requirement of state law.
RYAN on Obama: "And in his first two years, with his party in complete control of Washington, he passed nearly every item on his agenda, but that didn't make things better."
THE FACTS: Obama succeeded in achieving a stimulus plan, the automakers' bailout, his health care law, new rules in the financial services sector and more. But he had failures, too, a promised immigration overhaul and climate change legislation among them. Ryan's assertion that the Obama agenda "didn't make things better" is primarily a political judgment call. But no one seriously argues that the stimulus plan or the auto bailout made no difference at all. The question is whether such spending was worth the gains that were made. AP
Romney and Ryan are on the same page when it comes to Medicare, says Romney adviser: