Saturday, August 18, 2012

Telling the Truth about Medicare

S.E. Cupp
The Obama camp is demonizing Paul Ryan for his clear-eyed plan to curb entitlements

With the announcement of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate, the inevitable focus is on Ryan’s policies.

Specifically, the attacks will be directed at his budget plan, called “The Path to Prosperity,” and his laserlike focus on entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

And it’s going to be ugly. If you thought throwing granny off a cliff was bad (and decidedly unsubtle), you haven’t seen anything yet. The Obama campaign has already set out to demonize the Romney-Ryan ticket as one that will end Medicare as you know it.

The truth is, Medicare as you know it will end whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are elected or not.

And that’s because the cold, hard reality is that these programs will be bankrupt in a decade or so. And they are bankrupting us. Everybody knows this in their heart of hearts — even President Obama.

His own health care plan cuts Medicare by $716 billion. And just last year, in an address to a joint session of Congress, he ominously doled out the following warning:

“With an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it. We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it.”

Now, however, the President’s reelection is upon us. And Romney has gone and selected a running mate who wholeheartedly agrees that entitlement reform is crucial to the health of our economic recovery. That running mate went a step further in laying out a bold new plan to do just that — a plan that was co-authored by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, a Democrat.

But with millions of senior citizens’ votes on the line and a shiny new target in Ryan’s “radical” budget to exploit, the Obama campaign apparently wants you to forget the urgency of reforming Medicare.

The campaign has released a new Web ad featuring senior citizens who discuss the ways in which Ryan’s budget cuts to Medicare would affect them.

Never mind that Ryan’s proposed changes wouldn’t kick in until 2023, and even then only for new enrollees. There are voters to scare . . . er, woo.

Look for more of this course-correcting and pandering to come. Medicare needed urgent reform a year ago — but now, suddenly, it doesn’t.

I sat down with the newly minted veep candidate last summer in Washington for an interview, and I asked him about his controversial budget plan and the attacks against it. He was apparently prepared for this dance back then:

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