ROBINSON: The great Medicare switcheroo
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 5:38 p.m.
Who knew? In the hall-of-mirrors parallel universe where the Republican National Convention is taking place, the GOP stands tall and proud as the party of Medicare.
I'm still a little confused about the historical timeline in this alternate reality. Was it President Goldwater who signed into law the nation's health care guarantee for seniors? Was it President Dole who made sure the program remained solvent? Did John McCain win in 2008? It must be that in RNC World, the past simply doesn't exist. There is no other explanation for all the Great Society rhetoric coming from Republicans who once claimed to favor small government, limited entitlements and a balanced budget.
At a Bloomberg breakfast Monday morning, Mitt Romney's campaign brain trust claimed to welcome a fight with President Barack Obama over the future of Medicare. I say
This radical change would, as Democrats claim,
The GOP's argument centers on $716 billion that Obama, through the Affordable Care Act, has shifted away from Medicare providers, such as doctors and hospitals, over the next decade. Most of these cost savings were negotiated with the providers, and there would be no, repeat no, reduction in benefits to seniors.
Nevertheless, as soon as Ryan's selection was announced, Republicans went on the attack with ads charging Obama with
Remember, this is a parallel universe. We're supposed to forget that Obamacare preserves Medicare as a guarantee — a promise that all Americans will have health care in their golden years — while the Romney-Ryan plan would subject seniors to the vagaries of the private insurance market and potentially cost them an extra $6,400 a year.
Facts and history also went unacknowledged at Newt University, a series of policy lectures and workshops that Newt Gingrich is staging this week for conventioneers. The very first class at Newt U happened to be about Medicare.
Gingrich gave way to guest lecturer Betsy McCaughey, the former New York lieutenant governor for whom opposition to the Affordable Care Act has become a crusade and a career. She made Gingrich sound measured and moderate, which ain't easy.
Obama, she charged, has already
Let's return to the real world. As McCaughey said in a moment of lucidity, Medicare has fundamentally transformed the experience of aging in this country by providing a guarantee of health care.
Republicans may tell themselves that the GOP is the party of Medicare. But I doubt seniors will be convinced.
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