Video: Romney, Ryan play offense on Medicare in 60 Minutes appearance

posted at 10:41 am on August 13, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

According to the ever-accurate E-Mail Outrage Sensor, CBS edited this clip when the Romney/Ryan interview went to air, although I wouldn’t know.  I didn’t watch 60 Minutes last night because … well, I don’t watch 60 Minutes at all (and I suspect that’s also true of most of the e-mailers).  However, if it’s true that the show didn’t use the last part of the clip, maybe they were saving it for the network news tonight, or for their morning show today?  After all, Schieffer isn’t a correspondent for 60 Minutes, so I assume the use of excerpts of this interview on last night’s show was as hastily arranged as the interview itself, and perhaps meant to promote a bigger platform.

It’s good news, though, that the 60 Minutes audience got a chance to see this swipe at the Mediscaring that had already begun over the weekend after Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan for his running mate.  It turns out that Ryan and Romney both agree that the best defense is a good offense:

Romney answered critics who say Ryan’s Medicare plan will hurt the ticket’s chances, especially in Florida.

“There’s only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare,” Romney said.

“What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it’s there for current seniors. No changes, by the way, for current seniors, or those nearing retirement. But looking for young people down the road and saying, “We’re going to give you a bigger choice.” In America, the nature of this country has been giving people more freedom, more choices. That’s how we make Medicare work down the road.”

This is the part that readers claim was edited out of the broadcast, which if true would be journalistic malpractice:

Ryan added, “My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida. Our point is we need to preserve their benefits, because government made promises to them that they’ve organized their retirements around. In order to make sure we can do that, you must reform it for those of us who are younger. And we think these reforms are good reforms. That have bipartisan origins. They started from the Clinton commission in the late ’90s.”

Ryan’s plan doesn’t affect those already eligible for Medicare.  In fact, one of the conservative criticisms of the plan was that he didn’t give current Medicare recipients the option to choose a private-insurance plan, as younger Americans will get once they become eligible.  That’s a pretty newsworthy detail, no?

The Ryan budget proposes the partial privatization of Medicare by turning it into a premium-support system within a federal exchange, where insurance companies compete for business while meeting coverage requirements.  That’s really no different than Medicare Advantage, which puts market power into cost control and gets the government out of paying providers over a period of several years.  It’s not a perfect solution, as it maintains the third-party-payer system that interferes with pricing signals, which is the main problem driving the cost spiral.  However, it’s as close as we can get to a good political solution, since there is absolutely no support for dismantling Medicare entirely, and it at leastlessensthe problems of price-signal opacity.

This demonstrates the advantage that Romney gets in picking Ryan as his running mate.  Democrats would have hung the Ryan plan around his neck anyway.  Now Ryan himself gets to answer those attacks on the biggest stage, and the more people hear what Ryan actually proposes, the more apt they are to like it.

Update: The CBS broadcast transcript shows pretty clearly that none of this actually aired on 60 Minutes last night.  The E-Mail Outrage Meter got this one right.

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