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Fact-checking Ryan on Medicare
In his speech at the Republican convention, Paul Ryan called Obamacare "the greatest threat to Medicare."
August 30th, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Fact-checking Ryan on Medicare

 The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican National Convention the Empowered Patient has been putting presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s health care plan under the microscope, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

Earlier this week we looked at Romney's ideas on preventive care, helping people with pre-existing conditions get insurance, and aiding seniors who get stuck in the prescription drug donut hole.

Today we're fact-checking vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan's statements about Medicare in his speech Wednesday night at the convention in which he called Obamacare "the greatest threat to Medicare."

According to Ryan, President Barack Obama's administration "didn't have enough money" to fund health care reform, "so they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama."

Politifact.com, a non-partisan fact-checking group, called this claim "mostly false" on their truth-o-meter.

"Neither Obama nor his health care law literally cut funding from the Medicare program's budget," according to Politifact.

Factcheck.org, another non-partisan group, said Ryan used a "false line of attack."

"Medicare's money isn't being taken away," they wrote.

According to both websites, the $716 billion reductions in Medicare spending comes from reductions in future growth in the program that are mainly aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries.

Factcheck.org notes that Ryan himself proposed keeping most of these same spending cuts in his own budget proposal.

Some senior citizens who've chosen Medicare Advantage would likely see "a small change in their benefits," according to factcheck.org. Medicare Advantage plans are Medicare plans run by private insurers. Started under President George W. Bush, Medicare Advantage has become more expensive than traditional Medicare, and Obama's health care reform law calls for eliminating the extra payments.

Video: Ryan on Obama and Medicare


soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. HJA

    If you listen to the message you don't need the truth. And the message is "We don't tell the truth. Just listen to our message."

    August 30, 2012 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. JP

    The only real message they seem to have is: anything but Obama. If they have to lie, tell half truths or refuse to talk about topics to achieve that, they appear to be ok with that.

    The trouble is, Obama hasn't been that bad, and Romney would be worse. They want us to focus on the economy because the rest of their platform is about giving more breaks to the rich and taking ore rights away from everyone else. They much prefer talking about money than the theocracy that half their party is working towards.

    August 30, 2012 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. TJT

    mainly aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries. HUH, and who will they get their loss of income from? It used to be that Insurance was created for that emergency occurrance, not every nick – scratch – or whatever. Let Obama siphon off some of the "Too big to Fail Money" and give it to the "too little to live" people.
    Obama has had 3 and 3/4 years to accomplish something for the "Middle Class". Hell, we're now the 'Poverty Class", thanks to him. HJA & JP need to talk to someone on a fixed income, because when they hit 80 & qualify for SS and Medicare, they'll look back and scratch their heads in wonderment!

    August 30, 2012 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • damo12345

      What loss of income? The "cuts" are in things that were expected to grow, not things that already exist. The "cuts" (which, AGAIN, were embraced by Ryan) are things to prevent insurance companies and hospitals from inflating even more.

      August 30, 2012 at 18:23 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      If you are in the poverty class it is not thanks to him. I see you have no idea the disaster Bush left us with. It took a decade plus to get out of the Great Depression.

      And if you read a decent newspaper (although those are hard to come by these days) and turned off the Fox you would discover from the day he took office, the Republican Congress Mitch, Eddie Cator et all made it their mission to thwart every effort President Obama made to fix the economy the people of this country be damned. So the historic filibustering and obstruction began.

      I hate ill informed, or rather un informed arrogance.

      August 31, 2012 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
  4. Marty Walsh

    One fact about Ryan-Care which is never mentioned. He wants privatized Medicare. Guess what? We have private carriers competing with Medicare for primary coverage. In fact they cover about 25% of seniors now. It is costing taxpayers, who are paying the bills to private carriers, $15 billion annually. If all seniors had private coverage the cost will be $60 billion – paid for by seniors after Ryan restricts government payments. He won't hit us seniors. He wants to hit our kids. Does that sound great to you?

    August 30, 2012 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Linda

    Too bad CNN doesn't have the guts to put this on the front page with the heading it deserves: "Paul Ryan speech full of lies."

    August 31, 2012 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Timmy Suckle

    I kissed my way up to VP at a health insurance company. Now I take over $500,000 of your health care dollars for NO VALUE ADDED to your health care. And that’s just me. Now think about how many other VPs, Directors, Managers, etc. are at my company alone. Now multiply that by thousands of others at hundreds of other health insurance companies. From 10 to 25% of your health care dollars go towards administration that adds NO VALUE to your health care. But my company’s PAC dollars will continue to fool you little people into thinking that a single payer system will be bad. Little people like you are so easy to fool. Little people also don’t realize that a single payer system is the ONLY system that would allow little people (as an entire country) to negotiate better health care prices. Little people don’t realize that the Medical Cartels already know that. And that is the reason why the Medical Cartels spend so much PAC money from the hospitals and doctors lobbying against a single payer system. Some little people say that a single payer system would cost you little people more. But if that were true, then wouldn’t the hospitals and doctors WANT that extra money? Yes they would. So why do the Medical Cartels lobby against a single payer system? It’s because the Medical Cartels know it would allow little people to negotiate better health care prices. And that’s what the Medical Cartels are afraid of. Period.
    But us big wigs at insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmacy companies don’t ever need to worry about health care no matter what it costs. We get our health care paid for one way or another by you little people. And we get the little people that work at our companies to contribute to our PACs. And us big wigs say it’s to protect the little peoples’ jobs. But in reality it would be in the little peoples’ best interest to NOT contribute to the PAC. Again, little people are so easy to be fooled. I won’t ever have to worry about losing my job with so many little people being brain washed by the Medical Cartels’ PAC money. Not only that, the Medical Cartels’ PAC money is used to elect so many republicans that will never allow a single payer system. Republicans have always fought against any meaningful health care reform. But that’s what our Medical Cartels’ PACs pay them for. Politicians can be bought so easily.
    Pretty soon the only people that will be able to afford health care is us big wigs. And that’s the way it should be. We don’t want you little people using up the resources when we need them. And once again, I thank you little people for capping my SS tax at the $106,800 level. Now I only pay 1.3% SS tax and you little people pay 6.2%. Also, thank you for extending my tax breaks. I’m using the extra money on my vacation houses.

    August 31, 2012 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. plenty

    Can't take the lie out of the Republicans, it's just their nature. Wake up Americans

    September 4, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Linda

    It sounds to me like it is being syphoned in a round about way. If you cut payments to Hospitals and Insurance companies they are not just going to say "oh gee we will suck this up". They are passing it on to the middle class consumers that are stuck paying their hospital bills because we have a job. I work in the Healthcare setting and it is very scary what is going on to get ready for the full onset of Obamacare. It is all out war between physician specialties and a lot of "Marketing" to customers (NOT Patients that need our help because they are sick). This may sound good to the public but it is working against the patient that may need an honest eye opening discussion with their physician or nurse about taking care of themselves. Odds are they will at most get a watered down version because They won't get paid by Medicare if the Patient doesn't rate them a 10 on the questionare after their visit. This is good you say? How about the drug abuser who says they are in pain and is seeking drugs? If you don't give it to them they grade you 0 when ask was your pain controlled. You don't get paid. The system actually gets in the way of pt care.

    September 7, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.