October 12, 2012

Biden and Ryan Made It Clear Who We Can Trust On Social Security and Medicare

Ryan’s inaccurate statements and commitment to radical schemes that would harm Social Security and Medicare make the choice easy for seniors

Jean Friday, President of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, released the following statement regarding the Vice Presidential debate:

“During last night’s Vice Presidential Debate, Vice President Joe Biden asked seniors to follow their instincts on who they trust more to preserve Social Security and Medicare.  I believe that the issue of trust is paramount to the decision facing seniors in this upcoming election.  We’ve been told by both tickets that they are the saviors of our Social Security and Medicare systems, and that the other ticket will hurt these programs.  This debate was very helpful in sorting out once and for all which party we should believe.  During just the short section of the debate concerning these programs, Congressman Ryan told lie after lie about the current state of the programs, the Affordable Care Act and even his own proposals.

“On Social Security, Congressman Ryan repeated the oft-told lie that the program is ‘going bankrupt’.  He ignores the fact that Social Security’s trust fund grew in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 – every year of this recession.  He ignores the program’s $2.7 Trillion trust fund.  Perhaps Ryan should consult his running mate, who is running on his business record, whether a business that makes billions of dollars a year and has $2.7 Trillion in reserves is ‘going bankrupt’.  Certainly Social Security needs small changes to make sure that it does not deplete its trust fund 25 years from now, but this nonsense about bankruptcy needs to stop!

“The one moment of truth on seniors’ issues from Congressman Ryan came when he admitted to embracing the risky Social Security privatization scheme pushed by George W. Bush in 2005.  It’s no surprise, because Gov. Romney endorses the same concept in his book. Faced with the 2008 market crash, that would have devastated retirement security for millions if we had adopted the Bush/Ryan scheme, he continued to stand by his support of that awful plan that would have enriched Wall Street and sent seniors back to the poor house.

“On Medicare, Congressman Ryan doubled-down on the discredited line that the Affordable Care Act ‘cut $716 Million out of Medicare’.  Thank goodness the Vice President correctly pointed out that the SAVINGS in future Medicare payments to insurance companies and hospitals (not doctors) actually help pay for important improvements in Medicare services like less out-of-pocket costs for drugs and preventative services.  I only wish he would have asked the Congressman to explain why, if he believes these cuts are so devastating, he included them in HIS OWN BUDGET!

“On the issue of Obamacare, Congressman Ryan tried to fool the American people into thinking that Medicare Advantage would be hurt by Obamacare.  He cited predictions from before the law was passed about Medicare Advantage beneficiaries losing their plans.  I wanted to yell ‘Bravo!’ when Vice President Biden countered with TODAY’S FACTS that Medicare Advantage enrollment is UP and premiums are DOWN since the law was passed.

“Congressman Ryan also lied about the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB.  He repeated Gov. Romney’s lie from last week’s debate that this board would have unilateral authority to make benefit cuts.  The truth is, this board was created to study effectiveness of different payment methods, and has NO FORCE OF LAW.  He also failed to mention that the members of IPAB require Senate confirmation, and that their recommendations would only become law if passed by Congress.

“Congressman Ryan certainly tried to soften the blow that his own plan deals to Medicare.  He disputed the studies that said the first Ryan Budget would have added $6400 per year to the average beneficiary’s out-of-pocket costs to start with.  However, he could not explain how on earth seniors who could not pay the difference between his ‘premium support’ and the cost to purchase insurance or buy back into a weakened Medicare.  Instead he lied about having bipartisan support for his plan!  For the Record, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden worked with Congressman Ryan on a position paper on Medicare, but he DOES NOT SUPPORT the Ryan Budget because in his words, ‘The Romney/Ryan plan on Medicare is further proof that Mitt Romney is singularly unfit to end gridlock and bring bipartisan solutions to Washington.’

“Could it be more clear which candidates we seniors can trust?  Congressman Ryan only stopped lying about Medicare to briefly tell us he would privatize Social Security.  He could not have come across more untrustworthy to someone like me who keeps up with the facts.  What an enlightening debate!”

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, led by President Jean Friday of Westmoreland County, has over 300,000 members and 144 local affiliates across the Commonwealth.  PARA’s mission is to educate seniors and the public about retiree issues, and organize seniors to advocate for their interests in Harrisburg and Washington.  To learn more, visit www.pennretiredamericans.org.



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