Obama TV ad says Romney would break ‘the Medicare promise’

The Obama campaign continued its Medicare offensive in a new television ad set to run in five swing states on Saturday, claiming Mitt Romney would end “the Medicare promise.”

“You work hard, pay in. Your Medicare benefits are guaranteed,” the narrator says in the ad. “But Mitt Romney would break that promise.”

The ad spotlights President Obama’s renewed focus on GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget and Medicare reform proposal. While Ryan refers to his Medicare reform as a “premium support” system, Democrats have labeled it a “voucher program” that will hit seniors  with out-of-pocket costs for top-line medical care.

“Republicans in Congress have put forward a very different plan,” Obama said in his weekly address from the White House on Saturday. “They want to turn Medicare into a voucher program. That means that instead of being guaranteed Medicare, seniors would get a voucher to buy insurance, but it wouldn’t keep up with costs. As a result, one plan would force seniors to pay an extra $6,400 a year for the same benefits they get now. And it would effectively end Medicare as we know it.”

 The new Obama for America ad makes these same charges almost verbatim.

“Mitt Romney would break that promise…replace your benefits with a voucher,” the narrator continues. “Insurance companies could just keep raising rates. Instead of a guarantee, seniors could pay $6,400 more a year. The AARP says the plan Mitt Romney supports undermines Medicare. Mitt Romney. An end to the Medicare promise.”

The ad will run Saturday in Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams called the add "false" and "desperate."

“The Obama campaign’s ad is another false attack from a desperate President,” he told The Hill in an email. “Governor Romney has a plan to protect and strengthen Medicare, while President Obama has done nothing to stop the program from going bankrupt.”

Williams also reprised the GOP line of attack that focuses on the roughly $700 billion in reductions to projected Medicare growth estimated over the next decade under Obama’s 2010 reform law.

“The President robbed $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare,” he continued. “This will punish millions of retirees through changes to their current plans and cut funding to thousands of hospitals across the country. As president, Mitt Romney will reverse these disastrous cuts and ensure that Medicare is protected for current seniors and strengthened for future generations.”

Democrats have been quick to push back, arguing that Medicare cuts come largely from eliminating waste, fraud and subsidies to insurance companies, not from cutting health benefits to seniors.

“We gave seniors deeper discounts on prescription drugs, and made sure preventive care like mammograms are free without a co-pay,” Obama said in his weekly White House address on Saturday. “We’ve extended the life of Medicare by almost a decade and I’ve proposed reforms that will save Medicare money by getting rid of wasteful spending in the healthcare system and reining in insurance companies – reforms that won’t touch your guaranteed Medicare benefits. Not by a single dime.”