VP debate excerpts – Medicare
Edited by Jenny Jiang
Excerpts from the Oct. 11, 2012 vice presidential debate on Medicare:
PAUL RYAN: Here’s the problem. They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into a piggybank for Obamacare. Their own actuary from the administration came to Congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of this.
JOE BIDEN: That’s not what they said.
RYAN: 7.4 million seniors are projected to lose their current Medicare Advantage coverage they have. That’s a $3,200 benefit cut.
BIDEN: That didn’t happen.
RYAN: What we’re saying…
BIDEN: More people signed up.
RYAN: These are from your own actuaries.
BIDEN: More — more — more people signed up for Medicare Advantage after the change.
RYAN: What — there’s…
BIDEN: Nobody is…
RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know…
BIDEN: No, this is…
RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don’t keep interrupting each other.
BIDEN: Well, don’t take all the four minutes then.
RYAN: Let me just — let me just say this. We are not — we’re saying don’t change benefits for people 55 and above. They already organized their retirement around these promises.
RYAN: … programs for those of us.
MARTHA RADDATZ: But let — let me ask you this. What — what is your specific plan for seniors who really can’t afford to make up the difference in the value of what you call a premium support plan and others call a voucher?
RYAN: Hundred percent coverage…
RADDATZ: And what…
RYAN: That’s what we’re saying. So we’re saying…
RADDATZ: How do you make that up?
RYAN: … income adjusts (inaudible) these premium support payments by taking down the subsidies for wealthy people.
Look, this is a plan — by the way, that $6,400 number, it was misleading then, it’s totally inaccurate now. This is a plan that’s bipartisan. It’s a plan I put together with a prominent Democrat senator from Oregon.
BIDEN: There’s not one Democrat who endorses it.
RYAN: It’s a plan…
BIDEN: Not one Democrat who (inaudible).
RYAN: Our partner is a Democrat from Oregon.
BIDEN: And he said he does no longer support (inaudible).
RYAN: We — we — we put it — we put it together with the former Clinton budget director.
BIDEN: Who disavows it.
RYAN: This idea — this idea came from the Clinton commission to save Medicare chaired by Senator John Breaux.
Here’s the point, Martha.
BIDEN: Which was rejected.
RYAN: If we don’t — if we don’t fix this problem pretty soon then current seniors get cut. Here’s the problem: 10,000 people are retiring every single day in America today and they will for 20 years. That’s not a political thing, that’s a math thing.
BIDEN: Martha, if we just did one thing, if we just — if they just allowed Medicare to bargain for the cost of drugs like Medicaid can, that would save $156 billion right off the bat.
RYAN: And it would deny seniors choices.
BIDEN: All — all — all…
RYAN: It has a restricted…
BIDEN: Seniors are not denied.
BIDEN: They are not denied.
Look, folks, all you seniors out there, have you been denied choices? Have you lost Medicare Advantage.
RYAN: Because it’s working well right now.
BIDEN: Because we’ve changed the law.
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Vice presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky