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Wednesday, August 15, 2012
by Steve Teske
The choice by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his vice presidential running mate ensures a full-throttle debate on the future of Medicare likely will take place in this fall's race for the presidency. Ryan has put forth a budget plan that includes turning Medicre into a premium support system that is likely to highlight the differences between Democrats and Republicans over the the federal governments' role in citizens' lives, including the delivery of health care.
The choice of Ryan thrilled members of both parties. Republicans hold Ryan in high esteem for what they see as his principled and well thought out plan for reducing the federal debt and bringing health care spending under control. Democrats believe the choice of Ryan provides them ammunition for charges that Republicans want to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid.
How this debate will play with seniors in many important states, such as Florida and Ohio, is a question both campaigns are likely asking themselves. Romney and Ryan do not appear to be backing off from their charge that President Obama and Democrats have no plans to save Medicare and that the health care reform law hurts the program. And Obama and members of his administration continue to stress that Republican plans for Medicare eventually would end the program, shifting costs to seniors.
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