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Nation/World

August 17, 2012

Undoing Obama's Medicare cuts may backfire on Romney

(Continued)

“And you know what he did with it? He used it to pay for Obamacare, a risky, unproven, federal takeover of health care,” Romney continued. “And if I’m president of the United States, we’re putting the $716 billion back.”

That figure reflects the latest estimates of Obama’s health care law by the Congressional Budget Office, covering a 10-year period from 2013-2022. It’s a relatively modest share of total Medicare spending, currently about a $600 billion-a-year program.

“People need to look at what these spending reductions are before they conclude that they are really eager to undo them,” said Paul Van de Water, a senior budget analyst with the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Why should Medicare beneficiaries want to pay more to providers to provide the same benefits?”

Despite its long-term financial problems, Medicare has been fairly stable since the passage of Obama’s health care law. Premiums have remained about the same, reflecting a national slowdown in medical inflation. However, the brunt of the spending cuts has yet to be felt. Medicare’s own economic forecasters have warned the cuts may prove politically unsustainable.

Romney has not spelled out full details of his Medicare plan. But if it is based upon Ryan’s, the budget office says it would rein in Medicare spending more forcefully than Obama has.

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