Romney: No Medicare for me, thank you

posted at 3:40 pm on March 12, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Mitt Romney is 65 years old today — and, so, eligible for Medicare. The multimillionaire has no need of it, though, and says he thinks he’ll keep his private insurance plan, thank you very much. CNN Political Ticker reports:

“No, he’s keeping his current private insurance plan,” a Romney source told CNN.

Should Romney become the nominee, the disclosure that the former Massachusetts governor will opt against using Medicare could become a campaign issue. Romney has proposed drastic changes to the government insurance program for senior citizens.

Last month, Romney unveiled a Medicare reform package that included raising the program’s eligibility age and offering seniors the option to enroll in a private insurance plan. The changes would take effect for new retirees in 2022.

What else could he do? If he chose to enroll, his enrollment would underscore an absurdity of the program: Under Medicare right now, taxpayers pay for the health care of plenty of seniors who could afford to pay for their own. As the tone of Political Ticker’s report hints, though, it could actually become a campaign issue that Romney opted out: Critics will find some way to make that a negative. They’ll cite this as further evidence of his supposed inability to understand the average American’s financial reality or they’ll say it underscores that he has the luxury of proposing to reform Medicare without worrying about how it will affect current enrollees. Never mind that no politician really has that luxury. High voter turnout among seniors ensures their demands will always be met first!

Smartly, though, Romney has seized his birthday as an opportunity to highlight his Medicare reform proposals once more — and to call out the president for a lack of leadership on this issue. The president’s unwillingness to touch the program will — whether inadvertently or intentionally — “end Medicare as we know it,” Romney’s spokeswoman said today.

“If President Obama’s plan is to end Medicare as we know it, he should say so,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “If he has another plan, he should have the courage to put it forward. Until he explains his position and answers the following questions, he and his spokespeople are irrelevant to the national debate.” …

The Romney campaign said Obama has not proposed big enough changes to save Medicare from insolvency. The program’s fund for hospital care will run out of money in the next 10 years, according to recent projections from the Congressional Budget Office.

While arguing that Obama has not done enough to cut Medicare spending, Romney also criticized the president for Medicare cuts in the healthcare reform law. His statement slams the law for cutting $500 billion in payments to private insurance companies and for establishing an independent board to reduce payments to doctors and some other providers.

Romney’s campaign said the panel would “ration care for today’s seniors.” The House will likely vote soon to repeal the cost-cutting panel, known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board. …

Romney has called for partially privatizing the Medicare program. His plan — similar to the one introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — would let seniors choose between the existing, single-payer Medicare system or a subsidy to help them buy private insurance.

Republicans’ ability to win on this issue depends on their ability to get the facts out. A quick refresher:


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So Romney would be behind means testing for Medicare. Love to see the dems try to make ORmney keeping his private insurance an issue. Romneys first response should be “Why should the federal taxpayers pay for millionaires to have medicare?”.

Zaggs on March 12, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Ok

0bamaderangementsyndrom on March 12, 2012 at 3:44 PM

If he chose to enroll, his enrollment would underscore an absurdity of the program: Under Medicare right now, taxpayers pay for the health care of plenty of seniors who could afford to pay for their own. As the tone of Political Ticker’s report hints, though, it could actually become a campaign issue that Romney opted out: Critics will find some way to make that a negative.

Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. I have no problem with someone making lots of money, honestly. And if he’s wealthy enough to not need Medicare, and so doesn’t use it, all the better.

rbj on March 12, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Have you noticed, lately, that “reform” is a euphemism for “State control/order/mandate/dictate/directive/requirement”?

OhEssYouCowboys on March 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Not that it will effect him, but if you refuse Medicare, you don’t get Social Security.

rjh on March 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Critics will find some way to make that a negative. They’ll cite this as further evidence of his supposed inability to understand the average American’s financial reality or they’ll say it underscores that he has the luxury of proposing to reform Medicare without worrying about how it will affect current enrollees.

Over to the “real” conservatives who now happily trade in Obama’s class envy distractions.

rhombus on March 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Good that his campaign got out front on this before some presstitute tried a “gotcha” question about it.

This should help his campaign, not hurt it. The more we can highlight how Democrats claim to be for “the 99%” while supporting government-paid halth care for the 1%, the better. We are massively subsidizing affluent old people in this country while the middle class struggles to pay $4 a gallon for gas.

rockmom on March 12, 2012 at 3:48 PM

He has a choice? I thought all insurance policies expired upon eligibility for Medicare.

meci on March 12, 2012 at 3:49 PM

if you refuse Medicare, you don’t get Social Security.

rjh on March 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

I really don’t think that’s legal. It was a Clinton executive directive.

alwaysfiredup on March 12, 2012 at 3:49 PM

He has a choice? I thought all insurance policies expired upon eligibility for Medicare.

meci on March 12, 2012 at 3:49 PM

That’s ordinary coverage, not CEO-level gold-plated plans. I’m sure he has excellent insurance.

alwaysfiredup on March 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

And Happy Birthday Mitt. Do us all a favor and enjoy your retirement.

meci on March 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Not that it will effect him, but if you refuse Medicare, you don’t get Social Security.

although i don’t know if your correct everybody gets Medicare part A free. its pART B YOU PAY FOR.

gerrym51 on March 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Happy birthday, Mitt!

BTW, as I’m writing this, a Newt ad is playing on the radio.
The same ad I’ve heard several times already.
In AZ.
It’s not a national ad; it’s tailored for AZ.
Why advertize in AZ, Newt? We voted for Mitt already.

itsnotaboutme on March 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM

And Happy Birthday Mitt. Do us all a favor and enjoy your retirement.

meci on March 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

I suppose he will in 2020. ;)

GOPRanknFile on March 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM

When we turned 65, I tried to turn it back and opt only for major medical/catastrophic insurance, but was told that no private insurer could, by law, sell it to us. This article is bogus. He’s probably covered through his former company.

erp on March 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM

He has a choice? I thought all insurance policies expired upon eligibility for Medicare.

meci on March 12, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Not true.

JPeterman on March 12, 2012 at 3:53 PM

rjh on March 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

His investments payout 25 million annually, which probably will climb. He won’t miss it.

rubberneck on March 12, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Federal retirees also don’t have to take Medicare B. Their plans will not estimate medicare B if they don’t take it.

(standard disclaimer applies).

The_Livewire on March 12, 2012 at 3:53 PM

And Happy Birthday Mitt. Do us all a favor and enjoy your retirement.

meci on March 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

I suppose he will in 2020. ;)

GOPRanknFile on March 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Indeed. That’s when VP Jindal will get promoted.

itsnotaboutme on March 12, 2012 at 3:54 PM

What else could he do? If he chose to enroll, his enrollment would underscore an absurdity of the program

Tina, you’d have to be a bit naive to believe that anyone with his amount of major coin would want to go on Medicare. I’m trying to picture Mitt going over Plans A, B, C, D, etc, Medigaps and such to see if he can get a tooth capped.

whatcat on March 12, 2012 at 3:54 PM

For a well-sourced read on the Lies about Social Security, read this, by the excellent HA commenter Resist We Much.

Schadenfreude on March 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Bluegill in 5…4…3…2…

KOOLAID2 on March 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

I’m pretty sure the kind of doctors Romney sees don’t take Medicare. I’m also pretty sure that for the kind of money Romney is paying, his doctors make house calls (even if Romney is campaigning across the country) and will see him any time Romney needs them. In the everlasting words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the rich are different from you and me. They have more money.

So when Romney says no to Medicare it’s a bit like me pretending I don’t dine at the soup kitchen on principle, when in fact I don’t dine in the soup kitchen because I can get a better dinner at home.

Time Lord on March 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

If he chose to enroll, his enrollment would underscore an absurdity of the program: Under Medicare right now, taxpayers pay for the health care of plenty of seniors who could afford to pay for their own.

On the other hand, those seniors who could afford to pay for their own have since 1993 paid 2.9% (combined employer/employee) of their entire salary into the Hospital Insurance portion of Medicare.

Steve Eggleston on March 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

And Happy Birthday Mitt. Do us all a favor and enjoy your retirement.

meci on March 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Thread winner

Norwegian on March 12, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Where are the trolls/clowns?

Schadenfreude on March 12, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Why advertize in AZ, Newt? We voted for Mitt already.

itsnotaboutme on March 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM

You voted for McCain too, to re-elect an incontinent to the Senate, for shame.

Schadenfreude on March 12, 2012 at 3:57 PM

And, thanks to Teh SCOAMF and Dingy Harry, those making more than $200K (and couples making more than $250K) will see that 2.9% FICA/SECA rate increase to 3.8% on the portion over $200K/$250K in 2013.

Steve Eggleston on March 12, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Indeed. That’s when VP Jindal will get promoted.

itsnotaboutme on March 12, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Jindal as Prez is my ultimate fantasy.

GOPRanknFile on March 12, 2012 at 3:59 PM

He has a choice? I thought all insurance policies expired upon eligibility for Medicare.

meci on March 12, 2012 at 3:49 PM

I’m not sure where you got that info. Anyone can buy an insurance plan at any age– it’s just a matter of how much they will price it for you

PLENTY of patients I see have full private (non-medicare) plans after the age of 65. If you’re still working past 65, then companies often offer the same plan you’re on until you retire

Guess who 90% of these people that I see are with gold-plated insurance after 65 who don’t need Medicare? Government employees– teachers, cops, professors, etc

In Romney’s case, he either bought it himself directly from Blue Cross or Aetna or whoever, or he pays for it through one of his companies.

Guess who else had a gold-plated insurance plan for himself and wife through his company so he didn’t have to go on Medicare at 65?

Donald Berwick, infamous CMS chief and fan of rationing UK-style.

Listen here conservatives/pundits– if ANYONE dares make an issue of Romney, throw Donald Berwick back in their faces

thurman on March 12, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Happy Birthday Mitt!

Dr Evil on March 12, 2012 at 4:02 PM

I dont want you to be potus, but happy birthday anyway, Willard!

Valkyriepundit on March 12, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Smartly, though, Romney has seized his birthday as an opportunity to highlight his Medicare reform proposals once more — and to call out the president for a lack of leadership on this issue.

Tina, you going soft on Mitt? ;)

Priscilla on March 12, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Thank You Tina for another “teachable” OWS moment for the ABRs…….I can’t tell if this is just baiting or not, either way your irrestible.

And at least were not talking about condoms…….for the moment.

FlaMurph on March 12, 2012 at 4:06 PM

First he refuses to say outrageous things about the President and now he refuses to allow taxpayers the privilege of paying for his health care. These indignities will not stand, I tell you. They will not stand!

rogaineguy on March 12, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Yawn.

JFS61 on March 12, 2012 at 4:08 PM

When my father turned 65 he was still working and did not sign up for medicare assuming that he was still covered by his employer’s insurance. Big mistake.

Jasper61 on March 12, 2012 at 4:09 PM

I am so freakin’ sick of this campaign cycle already.

This should help his campaign, not hurt it. The more we can highlight how Democrats claim to be for “the 99%” while supporting government-paid halth care for the 1%, the better. We are massively subsidizing affluent old people in this country while the middle class struggles to pay $4 a gallon for gas.

rockmom on March 12, 2012 at 3:48 PM

If Romney’s the nominee, I really hope that it will help in, and in a rational world it would. But this is not a rational world. The spin will be that Romney doesn’t care if he destroys Medicare because neither he nor his children will ever need it. (I can just see the commercial now, with a Rommey look-alike pushing grandma off the cliff.)

Just Sayin on March 12, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Tina, you going soft on Mitt? ;)

Priscilla on March 12, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Makes two softies.

Schadenfreude on March 12, 2012 at 4:11 PM

You creepy rino zombies… with your cheerleading and vote for Romney signs jumping up and down to Michael Jackson’s Thriller

apocalypse on March 12, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Critics will find some way to make that a negative. They’ll cite this as further evidence of his supposed inability to understand the average American’s financial reality or they’ll say it underscores that he has the luxury of proposing to reform Medicare without worrying about how it will affect current enrollees.

You mean like how you threw this in- The multimillionaire has no need of it, though…. Because we didn’t know he was rich before and all.

He doesn’t need it, so he’s not using it. What’s the story, here? The fact it might become a campaign issue is a sad commentary on the state of affairs today.

changer1701 on March 12, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Schadenfreude on March 12, 2012 at 4:11 PM

.
…..athough some on this board call Mittens…ruthless….
.
Go Figure.

FlaMurph on March 12, 2012 at 4:21 PM

He’s on Cavuto right now talking about this…

Happy Birthday, Mitt!

Buy Danish on March 12, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Happy Birthday and Good Bye! Dump Mitt Now (I don’t care if it is your Birthday . . .)!

Pragmatic on March 12, 2012 at 4:28 PM

BTW, as I’m writing this, a Newt ad is playing on the radio.
The same ad I’ve heard several times already.
In AZ.
It’s not a national ad; it’s tailored for AZ.
Why advertize in AZ, Newt? We voted for Mitt already.
itsnotaboutme on March 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Oops. Somebody forgot to change the creative. Just one more example of Newt’s lack of managerial skills.

Buy Danish on March 12, 2012 at 4:29 PM

changer1701 on March 12, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Amen. This is pathetic, Tina. Get real. The man chose not to take taxpayer money for a system he doesn’t need. That should be cause for admiration, not resentment. Are you sure you’re a conservative?

mountainaires on March 12, 2012 at 4:34 PM

I guess it is better than Richard HOTGAS Ooops Perry bilking Texas by taking his retirement early and medicare.

0bamaderangementsyndrom on March 12, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Smartly, though, Romney has seized his birthday as an opportunity to highlight his Medicare reform proposals once more — and to call out the president for a lack of leadership on this issue.

Good for him. Happy Birthday, Mitt.

BakerAllie on March 12, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Mitt can easily afford to be self-insured, and given the down and dirty politics played by the proggies, he probably doesn’t want his health history available to some two-bit dem bureaucrat.

Hillary took a total dump of the FBI files, you think little Bammie wouldn’t hesitate to use Medicare information?

slickwillie2001 on March 12, 2012 at 4:52 PM

“I really don’t think that’s legal. It was a Clinton executive directive.”

Doesn’t matter what you think: it’s the (current) law.

http://insureblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/poms-and-obamacare.html

hgstern on March 12, 2012 at 4:58 PM

My husband and I would also choose not to sign up for Medicare when we turn 65 if we could. But we cannot because not only would we lose our social security, we would also lose our Tricare (military) health insurance.

sherrimae on March 12, 2012 at 5:02 PM

60 comments or bust

james23 on March 12, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Happy B-day Mitt. Thanks in advance for saving our country.

Jailbreak on March 12, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Medicare is crappy insurance. I’ve done billing for it as well as meicaid. They both suck. It was meant to be for those with no other insurance. Now, as pointed out above, insurance companies are dumping their older employees into it to save bucks.

My husband and I would also choose not to sign up for Medicare when we turn 65 if we could. But we cannot because not only would we lose our social security, we would also lose our Tricare (military) health insurance.

sherrimae on March 12, 2012 at 5:02 PM

So, frustrating. Who thinks up this stuff??

bluealice on March 12, 2012 at 5:27 PM

My husband and I would also choose not to sign up for Medicare when we turn 65 if we could. But we cannot because not only would we lose our social security, we would also lose our Tricare (military) health insurance.

sherrimae on March 12, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Meant to quote this..sorry

bluealice on March 12, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Thank you, Mitt, for bringing means testing of Medicare into discussion. It’s about time. Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for Mitt’s health insurance or Warren Buffett’s. Somebody set an asset limit (how about $10,000,000) and let’s use it as a baby step toward Medicare reform.

talkingpoints on March 12, 2012 at 5:28 PM

So, this will put him at a disadvantage running against Obama? Will Obama be going on Medicare at 65?

a capella on March 12, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Indeed. That’s when VP Jindal will get promoted.

itsnotaboutme on March 12, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Jindal as Prez is my ultimate fantasy.

GOPRanknFile on March 12, 2012 at 3:59 PM

From your mouths to God’s ears!!

annoyinglittletwerp on March 12, 2012 at 7:10 PM

For a well-sourced read on the Lies about Social Security, read this, by the excellent HA commenter Resist We Much.

Schadenfreude on March 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

I would have except for the terrible color scheme. I still have afterimages.

Dark print+light background=good.
Dark background+light print=bad headache

Nathan_OH on March 12, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Indeed. That’s when VP Jindal will get promoted.

itsnotaboutme on March 12, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Jindal as Prez is my ultimate fantasy.

GOPRanknFile on March 12, 2012 at 3:59 PM

From your mouths to God’s ears!!

annoyinglittletwerp on March 12, 2012 at 7:10 PM

I like Jindal a lot, but I’d rather see him at HHS first, not because I don’t think he’d be a kick-*ss VP and then President, but because we NEED him at HHS. I can’t think of anyone else who could do what needs to be done there.

Aw h*ll, he’d be great anywhere.

Just Sayin on March 12, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Not that it will effect him, but if you refuse Medicare, you don’t get Social Security.

rjh on March 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Well, that answers my question. I didn’t think that people had the option of refusing Medicare. Now I see that the whole Ponzi scheme is also a catch-22.

A person who spends his working years dumping a portion of a paycheck into the system stands to lose that “investment.” What a joke!

onlineanalyst on March 12, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Anybody got a[n official] link to the “if you refuse medicare you don’t get social security”?

You have to sign up for Medicare and it would be an absurd result to not get social security which you also have to tell the SSA that you’re now retired and want your SS benefits. Now premiums for Medicare can get taken out of SS payments, but I don’t see how or why not having Medicare would mean you can’t have Social Security hence my asking for an official link.

I did see on a Medicare FAQ that folks with Tricare and Part A needed to also have Part B of Medicare or they would lose Tricare.

Russ808 on March 12, 2012 at 11:35 PM

This evening while we were on our way to a local restaurant for my birthday dinner, I mentioned that Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney shares my birthday (not that I’m a fan), and then I got into a discussion about the other candidates with our college age daughter.

I guess our 4 year old son (who has Down syndrome and is mostly nonverbal) must have been listening very intently, because he yelled out, “Ron Paul!”

Bwahahahaha!

mom29js on March 13, 2012 at 12:55 AM

Romney has no choice. He has to go on Medicare or forfeit his Social Security bennies. That’s the law. The question is, will the Mitt turn down SS?

timberline on March 13, 2012 at 8:35 AM

Throughout my career I have paid into a trust to cover my retirement health coverage–it’s up to $90 a month now. But I STILL have to do medicare when I turn 65 regardless, in that my insurer will bill medicare for the things they cover on care I get and the insurer will take care of the rest.

Bob's Kid on March 13, 2012 at 1:26 PM

It is a testament to our broken political dialog that a man choosing not to receive benefits from a program he paid millions of dollars for can somehow be portrayed as a negative.

netster007x on March 14, 2012 at 4:59 PM