Campaigns joust over Medicare at AARP
NEW ORLEANS — GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s plan to overhaul Medicare returned to the political spotlight Friday as both presidential campaigns jabbed each other during a summit of the AARP, the country’s top advocacy group for seniors.
Both Ryan, who addressed the group in person, and President Obama, who spoke ahead of Ryan via a video feed from Woodbridge, Va., accused the other side of advancing ideas that would undermine and destroy the popular health care program for the elderly and the disabled.
“I don’t consider this approach bold or particularly courageous,” Obama said of Ryan’s Medicare overhaul proposal “I just think it’s a bad idea. No American should spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.”
Obama defended himself against the allegation that the Obama administration “somehow took $716 billion and robbed it from Medicare beneficiaries” as part of the 2010 health care law that is the president’s signature legislative and policy achievement. Ryan and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney regularly argue that the Obama law, would harm the program by removing that money.
It is “simply not true,” Obama said.
When Ryan took the stage and addressed the audience of several thousand people less than an hour later, he returned the fire: “You know President Obama’s slogan, right?” Ryan asked the audience. “”Forward’ — forward into a future where seniors are denied the care they earned because a bureaucrat decided it wasn’t worth the money.”
As he did at an event at a Florida retirement community last month, Ryan attacked the president plan in great detail, noting that his 78-year-old mother was in attendance at the event.
Many in the audience booed Ryan, particularly when he vowed to repeal Obama’s health care law. Several attendees yelled out “Liar!” and “No vouchers!” during his speech.