By Meghashyam Mali - 09/09/12 08:47 PM EDT
President Obama on Sunday turned his attention to Medicare, telling voters in Florida that Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan’s plans to reform the program would mean higher costs on seniors and more profits for insurance companies.
Obama cited a new study from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal advocacy group with ties to the administration, claiming that the GOP ticket’s plans for Medicare mean “would mean as much as $16 billion to $26 billion in new profits for insurance companies.”
“Your costs would rise by the thousands and the insurance companies' profits would rise by the billions,” said the president at a rally at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.
Obama said that the Republican proposal which he characterized as a “voucher plan” would “bankrupt” the program, while he touted his own reforms.
“We will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul -- but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of healthcare, not by dumping those costs on to seniors,” he said.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Sunday told reporters that according to the new study, under the “Romney/Ryan plan, someone who retires in 2030 can expect to pay an extra $125,000 over their lifetime for Medicare.”
The campaign said the study was conducted by Harvard University Professor David Cutler, a healthcare policy expert who was also an adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign.
The Romney campaign, however, dismissed the study as biased and a “sign of desperation.”
"The president's decision to use discredited studies and outright falsehoods to attack Mitt Romney is an admission that he can't talk about his record of crushing the middle class and failing to turn the economy around,” said Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams, according to reports.
Democrats have long targeted Ryan’s Medicare reform proposals which would move the program to a subsidized private insurance model for those under 55, claiming it would slam seniors with higher out-of-pocket costs.
With Ryan’s selection to the GOP ticket though, Romney has signaled a willingness to fight back on the issue, charging Obama with already weakening the program with “disastrous cuts” and using the savings to pay for his healthcare reform bill. The Romney campaign says Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare.
Obama has countered that those reductions were to projected Medicare growth estimated over the next decade and that the savings came from targeting waste and fraud.