Romney Plan Would Bankrupt Medicare By '16

Experts say restoring reimbursements would hasten its decline

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 22, 2012 7:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – Mitt Romney often promises to restore $716 billion in Medicare funding cut by the Affordable Care Act, but many experts say that pledge is, in the words of one economist, "both puzzling and bogus." That's because what Romney would be "restoring" wouldn't be funds but costs, the New York Times explains. The ACA cut Medicare's reimbursements to hospitals and doctors. Experts project that restoring them would send Medicare into insolvency by 2016 (rather than 2024 as currently projected), and cost seniors $342 a year in premiums and co-pays.

"Either they don't understand how the program works, which is hard to imagine, or there is some deliberate misrepresentation here," says the director of a Harvard health policy center. The Romney camp argues that cutting reimbursements means that "in the real world, the result will be fewer providers accepting Medicare payments and worse care for today's seniors." And a spokeswoman called the idea that restoring Medicare funding could speed its insolvency "absurd." Of note: Paul Ryan had the same savings in his budget plan before joining the ticket.

Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally, Aug. 20, 2012, in Manchester NH.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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