In his two-day swing through Florida this week, President Barack Obama appealed to both seniors and middle-aged voters who might be drastically affected by Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s plans for Medicare.
“He plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program,” Obama said on Thursday on his first stop in the state. “So if that voucher isn't worth enough to buy the health insurance that's on the market, you're out of luck. You're on your own.”
“One independent non-partisan study found that seniors would have to pay nearly $6,400 more for Medicare than they do today," the president said, NBCNews.com reports.
Obama’s approach continued in other speeches in the state, where seniors comprise 17.3 percent of the population, according to Census data. He also targeted middle-aged voters to be eligible for Medicare in future years – and tied Medicare’s solvency to the future of the Bush-era tax cuts, according to NBC.
“It’s wrong to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare just so millionaires and billionaires can pay less in taxes," Obama said before his trip was cut short in response to the Colorado theater shooting. "That's not the way to reduce the deficit."
The Medicare focus is deliberate, according to NBC, as Democrats made much headway in attacking the 2011 budget written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who is said to be on Romney’s short list for a running mate.
In May, the Obama claimed in a web video that Romney would end Medicare in its current form and that a typical 65-year-old woman could be left “with nothing but a voucher to buy insurance coverage, which means $6,350 extra per year for a similar plan.”
The video was based on Romney’s endorsement of Ryan’s book, “Path to Prosperity,” which proposed many changes to Medicare.
However, Obama’s Florida remarks on Medicare lack specifics on the Romney plan.
“Bottom line: There is a clear choice in this election for seniors between President Obama who has been a strong advocate for strengthening Medicare, and Mitt Romney who supports a voucher system that could increase costs, Obama campaign representative Ben Finkenbinder told NBC.
Meanwhile, Lanhee Chen, Romney's campaign policy director, disagreed, saying in a statement that the former Massachusetts governor has “a plan to preserve Medicare for today's seniors while strengthening it for future generations.”
Chen said that the president would take “hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare to spend on Obamacare and will leave seniors with fewer choices.”
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