Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

One Bright Spot for Obama in Debate: Medicare One Bright Spot for Obama in Debate: Medicare

NEXT :
This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Health Care / ELECTION ANALYSIS

One Bright Spot for Obama in Debate: Medicare

photo of Margot Sanger-Katz
October 3, 2012

In a tough debate for President Obama, Medicare may have been the high point.

Obama made a strong case that the Medicare reform proposal offered by Mitt Romney could shift costs to seniors and potentially undermine the traditional government insurance program, even if the plan includes it as an option.

Romney never fought back on Obama’s central assertion, that his plan amounted to a “voucher,” even after moderator Jim Lehrer asked him if he supported “a voucher system.” As he has on the stump, Romney emphasized how his plan would not affect current seniors and how Obama’s health reform law cut the Medicare budget. But he did not clearly answer the president’s most damning charge, that the plan he proposed for future generations could end up costing them.

 

“The problem is that because the voucher wouldn't necessarily keep up with health care inflation, it was estimated that this would cost the average senior about $6,000 a year.” Obama said. “Every health care economist that looks at it says, over time, what’ll happen is the traditional Medicare system will collapse,” he said later.

Obama’s attack was misleading, because the $6,000 number is based on an analysis of a 2011 plan that differs significantly from Romney’s current proposal. His claim that “every health care economist” endorses his analysis is also a stretch, though even many conservative health economists have their doubts about how a Romney plan would work.

But it was also effective. The public, by large margins, supports Medicare just the way it is. And Obama was specific about the ways that the plan could, theoretically, raise costs for beneficiaries. Romney explained that his plan included “no additional $6,000,” and emphasized how it would give seniors a greater choice of plans. But he probably needed to go further to sell a reluctant public on a structural change to the program, explaining why his plan wouldn’t do the scary things Obama said it would.

LIKE THIS STORY? Sign up for Health Care Edge

Get your daily dose of National Journal's health care coverage.

Sign up form for Health Care Edge
Job Board
Search Jobs
Security Alarm Tech/Electrician
Lockheed Martin | Fairfax, VA
Systems Engineer Stf
Lockheed Martin | Washington, DC
Intelligence Analyst Stf
Lockheed Martin | Springfield, VA
Sharepoint Developer
Lockheed Martin | Tampa, FL
Info Assurance Engineer Sr
Lockheed Martin | Glen Allen, VA
Aircraft Maintenance Asc Mgr
Lockheed Martin | Warner Robins, GA
Sr. Software Engineer
Lockheed Martin | Herndon, VA
Software Engineer Sr
Lockheed Martin | King of Prussia, PA
Technical Service Engr Asc Mgr
Lockheed Martin | Herndon, VA
Software Engineer Sr Stf
Lockheed Martin | Herndon, VA
Info Assurance Engineer Sr
Lockheed Martin | Bethesda, MD
Software Engineer Sr Stf
Lockheed Martin | Herndon, VA
Maintenance Program Management Mgr
Lockheed Martin | Patrick AFB, FL
CBT Specialists - Ar
Lockheed Martin | Jacksonville, AR
Assessment Engineer
Lockheed Martin | Bethesda, MD
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus