At the same Obama re-election campaign meeting July 16 where Vice President Joseph Biden said Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would cut 19,000,000 seniors from Medicare, he made the typical Democratic-party mistake of mixing up Medicare and Medicaid when it comes to discussing long-term care. He correctly (I think) said Medicaid paid for 40% of long term care in the U.S. but then said the "overwhelming majority" of people in "long term care" were "there because of Medicare." Medicare does not pay for long term care (but it will of course pay a senior's doctors' and hospital bills while living in a nursing home just as it will if a senior is living at home).
In fact, Biden "digressed" to make that point so it wasn't like he just misread the teleprompter.
Because Democrats are totally invested in entitlements (Medicaid is one, Medicare is not) as their way to win elective office, they can't keep the two programs separate. Biden didn't mention that the Obama administration has dropped its idea of including long-term care insurance in the Patient Protection and Affordale Care Act (PPACA) because it was totally unaffordable, even against the Democrat's loose standards for affordability.
The rest of the speech was the usual Obama class warfare. Of course Biden misses the point that no one except Democrats is suggesting cutting "Medicare as we know it" insurance in the near term. The Wyden/Ryan plan would not kick in until 2022 and will include the terrible "Medicare as we know it" insurance as an option. Biden repeated the CBO "insurance will cost seniors $6000 more in 20 years" analysis even though that is not part of the Wyden/Ryan plan and merely reflected what would happen to a senior under the old plan if some crazy insurance company offered -- and some crazy senior chose -- "Medicare as we know it." Since almost no senior makes that choice today, it is hard to believe any will choose "Medicare as we know it" 20 years from now.
Biden says we can fix Medicare without reforming it, repeating the canard that cutting Medicare Part A/B prices and Part C incentives under PPACA will extend Medicare eight years. Of course he never mentioned that the Medicare actuary says that's "never going to happen!" (Or that the money "saved" goes to fund free insurance for non-seniors, not to extend Medicare.)
Also Biden carefully avoided describing the current plan as the Wyden/Ryan plan but still called it -- inaccurately according to Democratic budget expert Rivlin -- a voucher plan. He says the PPACA approach will not increase costs. How could that possibly be true? No one has ever made such a ridiculous claim. Clearly the only issue is how much more -- as a percent of total -- future seniors will pay? And whether the total can be held down.
Biden repeated the usual pro-PPACA canards about the Part D donut hole (never mentioning that very few seniors -- as a percent of the total -- fall in the hole) and preventive services (most of which most of us seniors were already were getting for free before PPACA).
-- Dennis Byron