During Wednesday night’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney tried his very best to convince American seniors and future beneficiaries that his Medicare reform plan would not fundamentally alter the longstanding safety-net program’s structure. The Republican nominee painted his plan as a well-meaning experiment meant to inject some much-needed marketplace capitalism into the Medicare system, theoretically lowering the program’s cost and offering flexible, quality coverage options to future Americans, all while maintaining the benefits of traditional Medicare.
But Romney consistently obfuscated the details of his plan, which would actually result in massive cost-shifting onto consumers and fundamentally weaken the traditional Medicare entitlement. Here is what Romney said about Medicare Wednesday night:
…Number two is for people coming along that are young. What I’d do to make sure that we can keep Medicare in place for them is to allow them either to choose the current Medicare program or a private plan — their choice.They get to — and they’ll have at least two plans that will be entirely at no cost to them. So they don’t have to pay additional money, no additional $6,000. That’s not going to happen.
Setting aside the fact that Romney’s own stated desire to repeal Obamacare would raise the price of prescription drugs, preventative care, and Medicare Advantage premiums on current as well as future beneficiaries, Romney’s statements underplay just how radically his proposal — and the plan laid out by running mate Paul Ryan — would change Medicare for beneficiaries in 2023 and beyond.