*Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) apparently thought that seniors forgot about his plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system.
Speaking to the AARP’s annual conference Friday in New Orleans, the vice presidential candidate was booed by hundreds of elderly folk when he began talking about his plan to repeal Obamacare.
“The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare, because it represents the worst of both worlds: It weakens Medicare for today’s seniors and puts it at risk for the next generation,” said Ryan, drawing boos from the audience.
Speaking about the cut in the rate of growth for future Medicare spending, Ryan said, “The money wasn’t walled off to stay in Medicare. Instead, the law turned Medicare into a piggy bank for Obamacare.” That earned louder boos.
“You don’t have to take my word for it, you don’t have to take my word for it,” Ryan pleaded.
While attacking President Obama on social security, Ryan also was met with a mixture of boos and applause. “Time and again, this president has ducked the tough issues. He’s put his own job security over your retirement security,” he said. “Of course, he said he’d be willing to work with Republicans, but he has not moved an inch closer to common ground.”
The audience booed again.
Obama aired an ad today in Colorado, Florida and Iowa that argued Romney and Ryan would turn Medicare into a voucher program that could raise seniors’ health costs by up to $6,400 a year. In response to a question posed during the AARP address, Obama conceded that the increase is based on a previous plan presented by Paul Ryan. And indeed, Romney would offer Medicare beneficiaries a choice between staying on traditional Medicare or to purchase private insurance through a voucher-like system.
But Obama, delivering his most expansive and detailed argument against Romney’s Medicare plan, said that despite that choice, seniors would still suffer because only the healthiest would benefit from purchasing private insurance with a voucher plan while older Americans with greater health care needs would face rising premiums under traditional Medicare.
Obama, who has not offered a comprehensive plan to address Social Security’s long-term financial problems, said he would consider increasing the cap on Social Security taxes so that higher earners would pay slightly more toward the Social Security fund. Currently, the Social Security tax applies to income up to $110,100 in income.
“I do think that looking at changing the cap is an important aspect of putting Social Security on a more stable footing,” he said.