By Meghashyam Mali - 08/18/12 11:18 AM EDT
Mitt Romney on Saturday accused President Obama of weakening Medicare to fund his “takeover of the healthcare system,” in an audio podcast posted to his campaign blog.
“President Obama’s healthcare law raided $716 billion from the Medicare trust fund. And he did that to finance his takeover of the healthcare system,” says the presumptive GOP nominee in the audio message, the campaign's "first weekly podcast" from Romney in the run up to Election Day.
“Now if that wasn’t bad enough, his healthcare law also put in place a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats and gave them the power to make additional cuts to Medicare without even having to get approval from Congress,” Romney added. “This means they could deny elderly Americans the care they’ve worked for their entire lives – all because President Obama trusts bureaucrats more than he trusts seniors and their doctors.”
Ryan, as House Budget Committee Chairman, has proposed a plan to shift the program to a subsidized private-insurance model. That plan has faced sharp attacks from Democrats who believe they have the upper hand on the issue and argue that it would raise healthcare costs for seniors by over $6,000.
Republicans, though, moved quickly this week to hit back at Democratic criticisms of Ryan’s Medicare stance, arguing that Obama had himself cut Medicare in his signature healthcare reform law.
The GOP has hit Obama for cutting $716 billion from the program, saying he used the funds to pay for other elements of his health reforms.
But the administration has defended those savings, saying they came from trimming waste and fraud and from reducing subsidies to insurance companies and did not cut services or benefits for senior citizens.
In his address, Romney touted his own proposals to “save and strengthen Medicare,” and praised Ryan for also working “in a bipartisan way to advance a nearly identical series of reforms in Congress.”
“Now that he and I have teamed up, we’re going to ensure that seniors are protected from President Obama’s reckless actions. We’re going to take our solutions all the way to the White House,” said Romney.
He vowed again to repeal the president’s healthcare reform law which he said was “threatening seniors.”
The GOP presidential candidate said the “Romney-Ryan plan preserves and protects Medicare – and it guarantees the future of the program by forcing insurance companies to compete for business.”
“Choice and competition will drive costs down and make quality better, resulting in more affordable, better care for our seniors,” he added, calling on voters to "reject President Obama’s cuts to Medicare” in November.