Yesterday, Ezra Klein published a fair-minded article that explains how the Ryan and Obama plans for Medicare make comparable cuts to Medicare. “Ryan’s budget — which Romney has endorsed — keeps Obama’s cuts to Medicare,” he writes, “and both Ryan and Obama envision the same long-term spending path for Medicare. The difference between the two campaigns is not in how much they cut Medicare, but in how they cut Medicare.”
The main reason why the Ryan and Obama budgets are similar is because the Ryan budget repeals all of Obamacare except for its Medicare cuts. But this is also the key difference between the Ryan budget and Mitt Romney’s proposal. Romney promises to repeal Obamacare in its entirety, including its Medicare cuts.
Here is a statement that Romney policy director Lanhee Chen released yesterday (emphasis added):
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have always been fully committed to repealing Obamacare, ending President Obama’s $716 billion raid on Medicare, and tackling the serious fiscal challenges our country faces. A Romney-Ryan Administration will restore the funding to Medicare, ensure that no changes are made to the program for those 55 or older, and implement the reforms that they have proposed to strengthen it for future generations.
As I write over at my Forbes blog,
Democrats will, of course, try to blur the distinction between Ryan’s budgets and Romney’s proposal. And there may be a sound policy case for substantially cutting Medicare for current retirees, as Obamacare does. But whatever you think of Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare, the fact is that a Romney administration would repeal them, and replace them with a different set of reforms, reforms that would reduce Medicare spending by a lesser amount.
— Avik Roy is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of The Apothecary, the Forbes blog on health-care and entitlement reform. He is a member of Mitt Romney’s Health Care Policy Advisory Group. You can follow him on Twitter at @aviksaroy.