There were lots of numbers thrown around during the vice presidential debate on Thursday night. The candidates covered everything from the size of the Navy to how many small business owners are millionaires.
During the healthcare discussion, both sides used numbers that the fact checker site PolitiFact calls misleading.
Obama is cutting $716 from Medicare
Gov. Romney brought up this number several times during the first presidential debate, and Rep. Paul Ryan kept up the drumbeat.
The GOP team implies that this means people will get less care, and that is not necessarily the case. According to PolitiFact:
The law made significant reductions to Medicare Advantage. Hospitals, too, will be paid less if they have too many re-admissions, or if they fail to meet other new benchmarks for patient care. The overall Medicare budget is projected to go up for the foreseeable future, even with the health care law’s cost-saving measures.
PolitiFact calls similar statements Half True or Mostly False, depending on the wording and context.
Seniors will pay $6,400 more for Medicare
When the conversation turned to revising how Medicare is funded, Biden said that under the Romney plan, seniors would pay a lot more for health insurance.
This was true of Ryan’s first plan to revise Medicare, but that one died in the Senate. Ryan has given senior citizens more options in his fiscal 2013 budget proposal. According to PolitiFact:
The newer version allows beneficiaries under 55 a choice of using their payment to buy private insurance or a plan that acts like traditional Medicare. The amount of their payment would be set by the price of the second-cheapest plan. Romney indicated in an August interview that he supports Ryan’s most recent plan.
Democrats are doing the same thing with the $6,000 figure that the Republicans are doing with the $716 billion figure: scare-mongering with a discredited number.
Here is a link to the Romney campaign’s critique of the Medicare cost number.
Read more! Here are links to PolitiFact pages on:
Ryan’s best Medicare line
Ryan got to speak first on this topic. He mentioned that his grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s and that she moved in with his family.
“Medicare was there for my grandma,” he said. “And I got survivor’s benefits when my dad died.”
Ryan clearly credited the “entitlements” programs with providing his family the help that they needed. This made him seem more compassionate and down to earth, like he understood that people can need and accept help from the government without permanently entering the “culture of dependency.”
His main point was that we have to reform the benefits for his generation, so that there is no change for the current generation.
Biden’s best Medicare line
As the Medicare reform conversation went on, Raddatz turned the conversation to the Romney plan to change Medicare funding to a premium support plan. She asked, “What is the plan for seniors who can’t make up the difference?”
Ryan quickly replied that they would get 100 percent coverage, paid for by taking down subsidies for wealthy people.
Biden jumped in and seemed to get even more animated — if that is possible — and said the Obama administration made the system solvent to 2033 and will not be part of any voucher plan.
“Vouchers will not keep pace with healthcare costs, if it did keep pace, there would be no savings,” he said.
[Image from Twitter stream of Jon Passantino]