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Senior citizen with empty wallet, surrounded by pill bottles.
That cynical ploy of the Romney/Ryan plan to gut Medicare, but to keep the senior vote by putting those cuts off on the next batch of retirees, is looking increasingly empty. That's because their plan to repeal Obamacare, and to "restore" the $716 billion in provider cuts, means that Romney/Ryan will either have to make up those funds with revenues or with cuts to current seniors, because without that money, Medicare becomes insolvent by 2016. The Republican allergy to new revenue pretty much determines they'll squeeze that money out of seniors, and Romney advisers are admitting it.

Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie was the first to admit they'd target current seniors by raising the eligibility age for Medicare. And now another adviser is admitting that benefits cuts are definitely on the table.

Avik Roy, an outside health care adviser to the Romney campaign, admits that committing to billions of dollars in higher Medicare spending in the near-term will make it difficult for Romney to achieve its separate goal of reducing overall federal spending to modern lows. But he notes thatRomney could make up the difference elsewhere in the budget or, by “mak[ing] other changes to the Medicare program, such as increased means-testing, that don’t alter the program’s basic structure.”
Means testing would apply to people on Medicare now, and it would be a cut to benefits, benefits that retirees earned through years of work and contributing to the system.

That's not the only thing seniors would be losing under Romney/Ryan. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, with it goes the $4.1 billion seniors and disabled people have saved on prescription drugs. That amounts to an average of $768 in annual savings for Medicare patients, a significant chunk of money for anyone on a fixed income. Also gone with repeal are the free cancer screenings, mammograms and other preventive services.

Romney and Ryan are lying, no surprise, when they say that anyone on Medicare now won't see a change in their benefits. They're playing a shell game with American seniors.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:29 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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