Medicare was a focal point of the vice presidential debate on Thursday, as Vice President Biden and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) criticized each other's plans for the program, the Los Angeles Times' "Politics Now" reports (Landsberg, "Politics Now," Los Angeles Times, 10/11).
Biden Criticizes GOP Medicare Proposal
During the debate, Biden denounced the Republican plan to transform Medicare into a premium-support program, saying Republicans are "jeopardizing" the program's future (Pittman, MedPage Today, 10/11).
Under the GOP proposal, Medicare for U.S. residents ages 54 and younger would be transformed into a premium-support program, in which beneficiaries would receive subsidies to help purchase either private coverage or traditional Medicare (California Healthline, 10/11).
Biden said that under the Republican plan to "voucherize" Medicare, the program would not "keep pace with health care costs because if it did keep pace ... there would be no savings" (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 10/11). He added, "You're changing the program from a guaranteed plan to a premium support, whatever you call it. The bottom line is people are going to have to pay more money out of their pocket" (MedPage Today, 10/11).
Biden repeatedly cited an estimate of an earlier Medicare proposal from Ryan that found it would increase annual Medicare costs for each beneficiary by $6,400 (Modern Healthcare, 10/11).
Ryan Defends GOP Medicare Plan, Criticizes the Affordable Care Act
Ryan called Biden's argument "completely misleading," adding that the plan he and Romney support would reduce benefits for high-income U.S. residents to help maintain benefits for low- and middle-income individuals ("Politics Now," Los Angeles Times, 10/11).
He said that Medicare is going bankrupt and that the best way to save the program is to "reform it for my generation, people 54 and below" by giving younger people guaranteed coverage options when they become eligible (MedPage Today, 10/11).
Ryan also reiterated the claim that the Affordable Care Act would reduce Medicare spending by $716 billion over the next decade and would create the Independent Payment Advisory Board to reduce future Medicare growth. "We would rather have 50 million future seniors determine how their Medicare is delivered to them instead of 15 bureaucrats deciding what -- if, where, when, they get it," Ryan said.
Ryan said that Democrats "got caught with their hands in the cookie jar turning Medicare into a piggy bank for 'ObamaCare.' Their own actuary from the administration came to Congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of this" ("Politics Now," Los Angeles Times, 10/11).