WASHINGTON--Mitt Romney's campaign is embracing the Medicare debate revived last week as a major presidential issue when he tapped Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to be his running mate. Medicare is the subject of a new Romney campaign feature launched Saturday--a weekly podcast. That's a move to provide a book-end to President Barack Obama's weekly address. The Saturday messages are now a standard presidential custom.
And on Medicare-- Ryan is stumping Saturday in central Florida--at The Villages, a massive senior community--where the favored mode of transportation is golf cart (not kidding, I was at The Villages earlier this year covering the GOP Florida primary)
To Listen To Mitt Romney's Weekly Podcast, Click Here: http://mi.tt/OFcfPj
Click below for script...
below, from the Romney campaign...
Hello, I'm Mitt Romney.
And this November, America will make a choice about the direction we want to go as a country - and nowhere is that choice clearer than on the issue of Medicare.
President Obama's healthcare law raided $716 billion from the Medicare trust fund. And he did that to finance his takeover of the healthcare system.
Now if that wasn't bad enough, his healthcare law also put in place a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats and gave them the power to make additional cuts to Medicare without even having to get approval from Congress. This means they could deny elderly Americans the care they've worked for their entire lives - all because President Obama trusts bureaucrats more than he trusts seniors and their doctors.
And here's one more troubling aspect of all this: According to independent, non-partisan scorekeepers, these cuts the President's people will take to Medicare won't prevent it from going bankrupt: Experts estimate that Medicare's trust funds will be exhausted just twelve short years from now.
Now there is good news, and that is there's a better approach. Last November, I released a plan to save and strengthen Medicare - without making any changes for those that are 55 years of age and older. And then shortly after that, my running mate, Paul Ryan, he worked in a bipartisan way to advance a nearly identical series of reforms in Congress.
Now that he and I have teamed up, we're going to ensure that seniors are protected from President Obama's reckless actions. We're going to take our solutions all the way to the White House.
We are going to start by repealing Obamacare. That law is threatening seniors, and it is a maze of new federal mandates, and taxes, and penalties that's hampering job creation.
Once the partisan roadblock is removed, we can work with leaders from both parties to advance real solutions to save Medicare.
The Romney-Ryan plan will make no changes to Medicare for those that are retired or near retirement. And if we act soon, we can reorient our policies without asking seniors to reorganize their lives.
For younger Americans, we are going to strengthen Medicare by providing future retirees with federal financial support and letting them choose from a list of Medicare-approved coverage plans, including a traditional Medicare option.
The amount of financial support that a person would get would be adjusted based on their income; more help would go to the poor or the sick -- and less help would go to those that are financially better off. It would be based on how much the plans cost so that seniors always have access to affordable, quality coverage. And no senior could ever be denied coverage for any reason.
The Romney-Ryan plan preserves and protects Medicare - and it guarantees the future of the program by forcing insurance companies to compete for business. Choice and competition will drive costs down and make quality better, resulting in more affordable, better care for our seniors.
We've got to save this critical program. You paid into it, and you've earned it. I think it's outrageous that the President took $716 billion out of the Medicare trust fund to pay for Obamacare. No President should put in jeopardy your benefits. And no board of bureaucrats should ever be empowered to make decisions that could deny you the kind of care that you deserve.
This November, I hope you will reject President Obama's cuts to Medicare. And I hope you will choose Paul Ryan and me to protect health and retirement security, to promote prosperity, and restore our economic growth.
Thanks so much for listening.