Obama rips GOP on Medicare, mentions Space Coast jobs in Melbourneby George Bennett | September 9th, 2012
MELBOURNE — President Obama renewed his attacks on Republican plans for Medicare during a campaign stop today, saying the GOP would “bankrupt” the senior health insurance program while he would strengthen it.
“I want you to know, Florida, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher,” Obama told a crowd of about 3,000 at the Florida Institute of Technology on the second day of a weekend bus tour through Florida.
The tour includes a stop in West Palm Beach later this afternoon.
“I’ve already strengthened Medicare. We’ve already added years to the life of Medicare,” Obama said, referring to the federal health care law’s $716 billion slowdown in projected future Medicare increases that Republicans have attacked as cuts.
With the changes, Medicare trustees say the program will remain solvent through 2024 instead of 2016.
Obama said the $716 billion won’t affect beneficiaries. And he said Mitt Romney‘s pledge to restore the spending wouldn’t help seniors, but would “give money back to the insurance companies.”
The Obama campaign pointed to a Center for American Progress Action Fund paper that says a person who turns 65 in 2023 would see $59,500 in additional out-of-pocket costs for Medicare over his lifetime under. The figure would be $124,600 from those who turn 65 in 2030, the study says.
The study’s authors include Harvard economist David Cutler, who was a senior health care adviser to Obama.
“President Obama’s latest false attacks are a sign of desperation,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. “Only one candidate in this race has robbed today’s Medicare of $716 billion to pay for Obamacare – Barack Obama. He has done nothing to reform Medicare for the long haul and prevent it from going bankrupt, and on his watch family health care premiums have increased by nearly $2,500. The President’s decision to use discredited studies and outright falsehoods to attack Mitt Romney is an admission that he can’t talk about his record of crushing the middle class and failing to turn the economy around.”
During the appearance in the Republican-leaning Space Coast, Obama gave brief mention to the region’s aerospace industry.
“Here on the Space Coast, we started a new era of American exploration that is creating new jobs right here,” said Obama, who scrapped the Constellation program advocated by former President George W. Bush and has called for more relying on more private space initiatives.
Obama called the recent landing of an unmanned craft on Mars “an example of what we do when we combine our science, our research, or ability to commercialize, new products, making them here in America. So this is where we get a choice. We could, as the House Republican budget proposes, cut back on technology, or we can continue to be cutting-edge.”
The enthusiastic crowd included a woman who, after Obama talked about Medicare, shouted “That’s why we need a new governor.”
The remark drew big applause.
“I’m talking about the federal election right now,” Obama said after the cheering stopped, passing up a chance to jab Republican Gov. Rick Scott.