At a campaign stop in Florida on Thursday, President Obama criticized Republican plans to repeal the federal health reform law and alter Medicare, the New York Times reports (Baker/Gabriel, New York Times, 7/19).
In a speech in Jacksonville, Obama said that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's plans to roll back the federal health reform law would force 200,000 Florida residents to pay more for their prescription medications (Parnes, The Hill, 7/19).
Medicare beneficiaries in Florida saved an average of $600 on prescription drug costs in 2011, because the Affordable Care Act is progressively closing the doughnut hole in Medicare prescription drug coverage, according to the Obama campaign (New York Times, 7/19).
Obama also said elderly residents would be "out of luck" under a GOP proposal, embraced by Romney, in which Medicare beneficiaries would receive vouchers to purchase private health coverage. He argued that beneficiaries would have to pay nearly $6,400 because the voucher would not cover the cost health insurance on the private market (Madhani, USA Today, 7/19).
"If the voucher isn't worth what it takes to buy health insurance in the private marketplace ... you've got to make up the difference, you're on your own," Obama said.
Romney Campaign Responds
Romney's campaign said Obama's statements were "dishonest attacks," the Times reports. Romney campaign officials noted that PolitiFact has rated Obama's claim that the GOP voucher proposal would cost beneficiaries more than $6,000 "mostly false" (New York Times, 7/19).
Romney campaign policy director Lanhee Chen said Obama would take "hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare to spend on ObamaCare and will leave seniors with fewer choices." He also argued that Romney's plan would strengthen Medicare (The Hill, 7/19).
Obama Attempts To Sway Voters Skeptical of ACA
Obama might have a difficult time winning over older voters in Florida, in large part because of the trepidation over the ACA, USA Today reports.
A Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll published last week found that just 39% of elderly Florida residents surveyed support the health reform law. Those residents account for 30% of Florida voters. Overall, the poll found that 52% of Florida residents oppose the law and half of Florida voters want the law repealed (USA Today, 7/19).
According to the Times, Republican attacks of the health reform law have caused many older Florida residents to be skeptical of the law, despite its benefits (New York Times, 7/19).