Top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom on Sunday defended the campaign's claims that President Obama "raided" billions from Medicare to fund his healthcare reforms and argued that some seniors were being forced to look elsewhere for coverage because of the cuts.
"In order the pay for ‘ObamaCare,’ he raided the Medicare piggy bank, took $700 billion out of the Medicare program and shifted it to ObamaCare [and] that's wrong," Fehrnstrom said on CNN's “State of the Union.
The senior adviser said that the changes would force thousands of seniors to look for alternative forms of coverage.
The Obama campaign says that the $716 billion reduction came from savings targeting waste and fraud and from eliminating subsidies to insurance companies.
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter countered the Romney claims, arguing that the $700 billion reduction in Medicare had "nothing to do with seniors' benefits."
"We were rooting out waste and fraud" in the Medicare system, Cutter told CNN on Sunday. The White House "used those savings to put it back into Medicare," she said.
Romney's running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has hit the president hard over the Medicare cut, telling an audience during a campaign stop in The Villages, Florida on Saturday, that the campaign would repeal Obama’s healthcare reforms and with it that cut to Medicare.
“Medicare was there for my family, for my grandma, when we needed it then. And Medicare’s there for my mom while she needs it now and we need to keep that guarantee," Ryan told the largely 55 and older crowd during the campaign event.
But the Obama campaign on Sunday said that the president had extended the life of the program by eight years with his reforms and that undoing those cuts would do little to eliminate inefficiencies in the program.
"It means they're going to use taxpayer dollars to give subsidies to insurance companies, overpayments to insurance companies," Cutter said. "It means they're going to allow for fraudsters to take advantage of the Medicare system. Is that what we want?"