Dr. Aaron Carroll at the Incidental Economist blog captures the essence of the GOP platform on Medicare:
So Medicare will both stay a defined benefit program and be saved by no longer being a defined benefit program. We will eliminate the $700+ billion in savings to the trust fund, yet extend its life. We will not cut any benefits, but will reduce Medicare spending dramatically. We will increase Medicare spending, but somehow not seniors’ premiums.
BTW, the latest polls say Romney has pulled even with Obama on the issue of protecting Medicare. No doubt that’s due to his well-financed advertising charge that Obamacare ’cut’ $761 billion from the program. The fact is that it cuts $761 billion from PROVIDERS (health insurance companies and hospitals), and not a single service is cut. This is waste, pure and simple, which if put back into the system as Romney wants, will require a 20 percent co-pay on the part of beneficiaries ($150 billion or so more out of pocket). It will also reduce the time until the Medicare trust fund exhausts its reserves.
So here’s the rejoinder to anyone bamboozled by Romney’s ads: ’What Obama did was cut $761 billion in WASTE from the system. Romney would give that money back to hospitals and insurance companies and have seniors make co-pays on that WASTE. Do you want to pay $150 billion more for WASTE?’
And if your conversationalist says, ’Yeah, but Obama is using the money to give insurance to ’them’,’ you can respond: ’Well, at least you don’t have to pay extra for that; only the hospitals and insurance companies cough up. And if Romney gets his way, you’ll pay more, and nobody currently uninsured will even get covered. I’d say $150 billion out of your pocket is a pretty big price to pay to punish people without insurance.’