Paul Ryan spoke at the AARP‘s annual convention in New Orleans on Friday to speak to seniors about his plan to reboot Medicare, taking the stage after a via-satellite appearance from President Obama. Some members of the audience were a little on the openly unfriendly side (most of the headlines I’m seeing are variations of ‘Paul Ryan booed at AARP’) with some people shouting things like “Lie!” and “No vouchers!” at a few points and especially when he mentioned repealing ObamaCare, but he plowed right on through to the important stuff:
You don’t have to take my word for it. Ask the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He works for the Obama administration, and his job is to look after your Medicare. Last year, we invited him to Congress to answer a simple question: If President Obama’s Medicare cuts were used to pay for new spending in Obamacare, how can they also improve Medicare’s solvency?
His answer? They can’t. It’s simple: You can’t spend the same dollar twice. His exact words were, “It takes two sets of money to make it happen.” President Obama spent one set on a government takeover of health care, and he never provided the other to strengthen Medicare.
But that’s not all the new health-care law did. You see, Medicare is going bankrupt. Everyone understands this. Even President Obama said last year, “If you look at the numbers, Medicare in particular will run out of money, and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up.” …
The President’s health-care law set up something called the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It will be made up of 15 unelected bureaucrats. The President has said he will appoint “experts,” but none of the fifteen are required by law to have any medical training.
And here’s the thing: As Medicare spending grows, this board is required to cut it. Unless Congress overrides these cuts with a supermajority vote, they automatically become law. …
Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my Mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours.
Our plan keeps the protections that have made Medicare a guaranteed promise for seniors throughout the years. It makes no changes for those in or near retirement.
I’m not sure how much more simple this can get — which, come to think of it, is probably exactly why the Democrats feel compelled to resort to relentless, cheap demagoguery like visuals of Paul Ryan pitching Granny over the edge of a cliff. Medicare is not solvent as-is; the most significant action-item on President Obama’s part has been to raid the program on behalf of his legislative crowning jewel; and a Romney/Ryan plan would not effect anyone who’s already in or near retirement.