We’ve gotten a glimpse into the Romney/Ryan political strategy on how they’ll sell their highly unpopular plan to end Medicare, privatizing it so that seniors end up paying private insurance companies more for less coverage.   Basically, they won’t even try to sell their plan.  As Max Richtman, NCPSSM’s President/CEO, detailed in Huffington Post  this week, the heart of the GOP strategy is to dodge, deflect and then wrap their privatization plans in a cloak of “preservation”. 

This latest strategy is really not all that different than in the last election cycle when the GOP promised “death panels” were coming after grandma, regardless of the abundance of hard factual evidence to the contrary.  Just as there were no death panels – then or now—the “Obamacare robs Medicare” myth is yet another political Mediscare tactic designed to deflect attention away from the real damage not-so- hidden in the Romney/Ryan plan for Medicare.  

The problem for the GOP is that Americans don’t want to privatize Medicare.  They simply don’t believe that giving seniors a coupon of diminishing value to go shopping for private insurance is a good plan for millions of middle-class Americans who depend on Medicare’s guaranteed benefits to keep them healthy.   It’s an especially hard sell, once seniors find out these coupons are designed NOT to cover their full health care costs:  

Under Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget resolution, the annual growth in Medicare spending is limited to the gross domestic product (GDP) + 0.5 percent, a rate likely to be lower than the growth in health costs. If spending exceeds this amount, beneficiaries would be subject to additional out-of-pocket costs since their voucher likely would not cover the cost of traditional Medicare or the private plan that includes their doctors.  The Congressional Budget Office projects that government spending per beneficiary would be $2200 less under the Ryan Medicare plan in 2030 than under current law.  (The Long-Term Budgetary Impact of Paths for Federal Revenues and Spending Specified by Chairman Ryan, https://www.ncpssm.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/03-20-Ryan_Specified_Paths_2.pdf, pg 8).

The National Committee has prepared an analysis of the “Obamacare Robs Medicare” myth.  The $716 Billion Question – Strengthen Medicare, or Tax Breaks for the Wealthy?  

Since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Republicans have accused Democrats who voted for health care reform of “cutting” Medicare.  At the same time, Republicans in the House of Representatives have supported two Republican budget resolutions, introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), that retain the same savings in Medicare spending while repealing the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare improvements.

The analysis breaks down both the Affordable Care Act and the Ryan Budget plan’s impact on Medicare.  It’s important information for middle-class seniors in Medicare who are clearly the primary targets of the ongoing  campaign to confuse and deflect attention away from GOP  plans to end traditional Medicare, repeal new benefits saving seniors billions of dollars in health care costs while cutting taxes for the wealthy and increasing the debt at the same time.

That will be a truly tough sell…especially once Americans get beyond the political spin and ask the tough questions about the GOP plan for Medicare.