Mitt Romney’s lying on Medicare is beginning to make him sound, dare I say, pathologically unhinged. Never mind the fact checks and the other fact checks. Romney’s got his fiction and is sticking to it: “Obama has cut $ 716 billion from Medicare. Why? To pay for Obamacare.”
We all know that Paul Ryan, in the budget Romney endorsed (last time I checked, anyway), included those exact same cuts to Medicare. And none of those cuts actually hit beneficiaries. They rein in the huge amount of taxpayer money going to overpayments in the Republican-created (and not paid for) Medicare Advantage program. So, you could almost commend Ryan for seeing where it makes sense to cut Medicare. Almost.
But of course, Ryan just couldn’t leave it at that, because that isn’t going to destroy Medicare, the GOP’s ultimate aim. What’s going to destroy Medicare is his voucher plan. That would hurt seniors, forcing them to pay more and more out of pocket as the value of the vouchers decreases. That’s what would happen in the future with Ryan’s and Romney’s Medicare plan.
But what they really don’t want to talk about is the cuts to seniors right now Ryan proposes by slashing Medicaid, which would happen immediately. The $ 800 billion in cuts over the next decade that Ryan proposes would have to end up hurting the six million seniors who rely on the program for nursing home and long-term care—two-thirds of all nursing home patients in the U.S. are covered by Medicaid.
Cynically, Ryan made these dramatic cuts to Medicaid so that he could spare current Medicare retirees from seeing cuts, and could put off their pain—and their opposition—for at least a while. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) nailed Ryan on this ploy:
“They care about the votes of seniors who are not poor and they don’t care about the votes and the consequences to seniors who are poor.”
Expect this to be one of those things that’s off-limits to talk about. Mitt’s running for president, for Pete’s sake. That means you can’t talk about what he stands for or what he’d do as president. You can’t talk about him, or Ryan, at all.