During the vice presidential debate Thursday, Paul Ryan issued perhaps his most scathing denunciation of President Obama’s Medicare provider cuts in the Affordable Care Act — the same savings that Ryan adopted in his budget blueprints.
“Look what Obamacare does,” he said. “Obamacare takes $716 billion from Medicare to spend on Obamacare. Even their own chief actuary at Medicare backs this up.”
“They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into a piggybank for Obamacare. Their own actuary from the administration came to Congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of this.”
The cuts come in the form of reimbursement rate reductions to mostly hospitals and private insurance companies under Medicare Advantage over the next 10 years. Mitt Romney has repeatedly evoked the cuts to fend off attacks against his and Ryan’s push to convert Medicare into a subsidized private insurance — or voucher — system for those 55 and under.
The savings are the one part of Obamacare that Ryan’s budget does not repeal — he accepted them as a way to achieve his deficit targets. The plan was passed by the House in 2011 and 2012 and won overwhelming Republican support in the Senate.
Vice President Joe Biden didn’t go after Ryan for the contradiction but noted that Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased since the ACA took effect.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.