Liberal advocates defend study critical of Romney Medicare plan

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Romney's plan for Medicare is "simple," said CAP President Neera Tanden, who is a counselor to the CAP Action Fund.

Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, want to "achieve deficit reduction by making seniors pay more for Medicare," Tanden said. "It's very different from the approach of the president and Democrats, who want to lower healthcare costs."

The study concluded that someone retiring at age 65 in 2023 would pay $59,500 more for healthcare after the reforms to Medicare advocated by Romney and Ryan. Someone retiring in 2030 would pay $124,600 more, the study found.

Author David Cutler, a Harvard University professor who advised Obama's 2008 campaign, also concluded that the GOP ticket's plan would translate to billions of new profits for insurance companies.

Obama used the claims at a campaign rally at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne on Sunday.

"One report just said that by the end of the next decade, our opponent's plan would mean $16 billion and $26 billion for insurance companies," he said. "So basically your costs would rise by thousands, so their profits can rise by billions."

Romney's campaign dismissed the claim — and the study — as biased and desperate.

"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," Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams told reporters.

The GOP plan would partially privatize Medicare, so seniors would choose between the existing program or subsidies to help buy private insurance. Romney and Ryan argue that a "premium support" model is needed to reduce costs in Medicare and ensure the program exists for future seniors.

Cutler countered Monday that medical costs "need to be addressed in a way that's not just dumping the hot potato on someone else, but to really go after the drivers of medical costs."

The Center for American Progress recently released a plan for efficiency-based market reforms that would rein in U.S. healthcare spending overall, translating to Medicare savings in the long-term.