(DUBUQUE, Iowa) — President Obama entered the fight over Medicare today, telling supporters in Iowa that his GOP opponents are being “dishonest about my plan.”
“Here’s what you need to know: I have strengthened Medicare,” he said to applause from a crowd of 3,000 gathered at the Alliant Energy Amphitheater. “I have made reforms that have saved millions of seniors with Medicare hundreds of dollars on their prescription drugs.”
Obama is using the final day of his Iowa bus tour to push back against Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, who are attacking the president for cutting $716 billion from the popular entitlement program.
“They are just throwing everything at the wall to see if it sticks,” Obama said of the GOP attacks.
What the Romney campaign has not mentioned is that Obama’s cuts do not impact Medicare eligibility or benefits. Furthermore, the Ryan budget calls for the same cuts to Medicare that the GOP ticket is attacking the president for making in his health care bill.
“I’ve proposed reforms that will save Medicare money by getting rid of wasteful spending in the health care system, reforms that will not touch your Medicare benefits, not by a dime,” Obama said.
The president went on to blast his opponents for backing a plan that “ends Medicare as we know it.”
“They want to turn Medicare into a voucher program,” he said. “That means seniors would no longer have the guarantee of Medicare. They’d get a voucher to buy private insurance. And because the voucher wouldn’t keep up with costs, the plan authored by Gov. Romney’s running mate, Congressman Ryan, would force seniors to pay an extra $6,400 a year. And I assume they don’t have it.
“My plan reduces the cost of Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste and subsidies to insurance companies,” he added. “Their plan makes seniors pay more so they can give another tax cut to millionaires and billionaires. That’s the difference between our plans on Medicare. That’s an example of the choice in this election.”
In a statement, Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said: “President Obama has a long history of launching shameful political attacks on Medicare – but he’s the only person in the race who has actually cut Medicare. President Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare and our nation’s seniors will pay the price with higher costs and fewer benefits. As president, Mitt Romney will always protect this vital program for seniors and strengthen it for future generations.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune