Ryan Pressed On $716 Billion, 10-Year Medicare Cut

Romney criticizes those reductions in the future growth of Medicare, which were put in place by the 2010 health law. But his running mate, Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, is put on the spot by reporters about why he included those same reductions in his budget proposals, which were passed twice by the House.

Los Angeles Times: Paul Ryan Questioned Over Apparent Shifts On Issues
The probing did not let up Thursday, even during a quick visit the new Republican vice presidential candidate made to a hot dog stand here. Ryan invited a reporter celebrating a birthday to join him for a bite, and was soon asked about his Medicare position. … Leaning over a hot dog covered in sauerkraut, Ryan responded: "First of all, those are in the baseline — he put those cuts in. Second of all, we voted to repeal Obamacare repeatedly, including those cuts. I voted that way before the budget; I voted that way after the budget. So when you repeal all of Obamacare what you end up doing is that repeals that as well" (Semuels, 8/16).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: As Obama Camp Elevates Ryan Stature, It Tears Down His Policies
Obama's team has focused particularly on the Ryan budget's proposal to alter Medicare, seeking to create doubts and fears among older voters. Romney's camp, anticipating the criticism, engaged in the debate head-on, launching a pre-emptive ad that takes issue with Obama's health care plan and its reductions in Medicare spending (8/17).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Ryan Says He Voted Against Medicare Cuts
Mr. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and Mr. Romney's running mate, moved to close the apparent divide on the Republican ticket Thursday in answering a reporter's question. He observed that he voted multiple times to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act signed in 2010 by Mr. Obama, including all the Medicare cuts. Why, then, did his budget assume the cuts would stay? "It was already in the baseline," Mr. Ryan said. "We would never have done it in the first place" (Landers and Nelson, 8/16).

Reuters: Ryan Says His Plan Keeps Obama's Savings
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan acknowledged on Thursday that his proposed healthcare reforms rely on many of the same spending reductions for which he has criticized President Barack Obama, something that could undercut a central message of the Republican campaign. Ryan and Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, charge that Obama's 2010 health law would weaken the popular Medicare health plan for the elderly by reducing its costs by $716 billion over the coming 10 years (Youngman, 8/16).

Politico: Van Hollen: 'Sad' Ryan 'Forced To Flip-Flop'
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen accused Paul Ryan of having been "forced to flip flop" on a change to the Medicare program he once supported, and as a result favors "hasten[ing] the insolvency of the Medicare program." The Democratic congressman, who is Ryan's counterpart on the House Budget Committee, targeted the GOP vice presidential candidate for saying he would restore $716 billion in spending reductions to the Medicare program. Those reductions — "overpayments to insurance companies," Van Hollen said — were part of the Affordable Care Act and Ryan included them in his own budget plan (Burns, 8/16).

Meanwhile, Politico reports on Ryan's Medicaid proposal -

Politico: Paul Ryan's Medicaid Changes May Be Bigger
While Paul Ryan's Medicare plan is getting all the headlines, his plan for Medicaid is every bit as dramatic. But because Medicaid helps the poor — who don't vote — rather than seniors — who do — it hasn't dominated the presidential race like Medicare has. Ryan's budget would turn Medicaid into block grants to the states. That's not a new idea; Republican governors have been demanding that since at least the Reagan years, which is another reason the issue isn’t capturing the headlines right now (Kenen and Norman, 8/16).

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