“From a repeal standpoint, we understand that the bill that was put into law now doesn't work,” Price said. “It doesn't work for anybody in the system—whether it's patients or doctors or employers or employees or state governments or the federal government,” he added. “What is a must is that it has to be repealed.”
Repealing the law is an objective that Romney mentioned in his acceptance speech Aug. 30 and that the GOP adopted in its official platform on the convention's first day. That agenda also proposes a massive redesign of the Medicare program that would allow patients to choose between traditional fee-for-service Medicare and private health insurance plans.
As chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, Ryan proposed this latter concept—known as a premium-support model—in his budget proposals for fiscal 2012 and 2013 that passed in the House but went nowhere in the Senate.
But while Ryan certainly is one of Washington's loudest cheerleaders for premium support, the Wisconsin Republican made no mention of it last week in his acceptance speech. Instead, he tailored his Medicare comments to fit with his criticism of the president and the reform law.
“You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the healthcare takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn't have enough money,” Ryan said on Aug. 29 to an enthusiastic crowd at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
“They needed more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars funneled out of Medicare by President Obama,” he added. “An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed—all to pay for a new entitlement we didn't even ask for.
“The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we're going to stop it,” Ryan said.
FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, released a report the day after Ryan's speech that noted about $415 billion of those cuts will come in the form of reduced Medicare payments to hospitals, not from recipients' benefits. This also was a point that Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Budget Committee, emphasized from a “war room” in Tampa set up by the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America on the morning of Ryan's speech.
“Romney would now restore some of the overpayments that Medicare was making to private insurance companies and others,” Van Hollen said after a news conference. “And since seniors pay a share of the overall cost of Medicare through premiums and co-pays, they will now have to pay more—right now.”