David Shuster (Washington, D.C.) –
84 days until the U.S. Presidential election and Mitt Romney has done another dizzyng flip flop, this time on his running mate’s controversial plan to overhaul Medicare.
During a press conference with reporters in Miami, Romney turned down three opportunities to explain how his vision would be different from Paul Ryan’s, saying, “my plan for Medicare is very similar to his plan for Medicare.” Watch it:
The problem is that in the 48 hours before the press conference, Romney’s campaign repeatedly declared that he won’t be adopting his running mate’s highly controversial plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system. On Saturday for example, just after Romney announced the Ryan pick, his campaign sent out a series of talking points distancing Romney from the Ryan plan.
But apparently Governor Romney didn’t read his own campaign memo or doesn’t care to maintain a consistent position on most things for more than one or two news cycles. Because in Miami he refused to say anything about the Ryan plan that he disagreed with.
Instead, Romney tried to turn the Medicare focus back on to President Obama because the Affordable Care Act calls for $700 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next decade.
It’s true the ACA includes substantial cuts to Medicare. But Ryan’s own budget plan leaves these cuts in place and uses them to finance other priorities, including tax cuts for the wealthy. In other words, the Romney campaign is now attacking a plan that his allies, including Paul Ryan, support. Amazing, eh?
It’s important for our nation to have a vigorous debate over entitlements including Medicare. However, it’s awfully hard to have a meaningful discussion if one side is unwilling to be honest about their plan or what they stand for.
By the way, the best write up I’ve seen on the differences between the Obama plan for Medicare and the Ryan plan is from Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic. http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/106061/romney-ryan-medicare-cut-obamacare-priebus Here is the key section:
“The most significant difference between the two sides, at least for the short- to medium-term, is how they handle the savings these cuts generate. Obamacare puts the money back into the pockets of people who need help with their medical bills. A portion of the money is earmarked for children and non-elderly Americans, who, starting in 2014, will become eligible for Medicaid or receive tax credits to offset the cost of private insurance. A smaller, but still significant, portion of the money is for seniors. It helps them pay for prescription drugs, by filling the “donut hole” in Medicare Part D coverage. It also eliminates out-of-pocket costs for annual wellness visits, some cancer screenings, and other preventative services. Those benefits have actually started already: In the first six months of this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 16 million seniors took advantage of the free preventative care provision.
Ryan’s budget—which, again, Romney has repeatedly embraced and said he would sign—actually takes those new benefits away. The Part D donut hole would open back up. Access to free preventative care would vanish. And where would Ryan and Romney put the money instead? They say it’s for deficit reduction.”
About the Author (Author Profile)
David Shuster is an Emmy Award-winning broadcast news anchor and correspondent for Current TV. Based in Washington,D.C., Shuster serves as the primary substitute host for “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.”
Previously, Shuster hosted shows on MSNBC and anchored that network’s prime time coverage of breaking news stories including the historic Congressional votes for healthcare reform, the earthquake in Haiti, and the death of Michael Jackson.
Shuster also worked for NBC News, where he covered Operation Iraqi Freedom in Doha,Qatar; the first elections in Baghdad, Iraq; the selection of Pope Benedict in Vatican City; and Hurricane Katrina as the storm made landfall in Biloxi, Mississippi.
On MSNBC’s Hardball, Shuster led the show’s coverage of the 2004 and 2008 Presidential campaigns. He headed up MSNBC’s “ad watch team,” fact checking and analyzing hundreds of campaign commercials. He also covered the national political conventions and the presidential campaign primaries. In the fall of 2003, Shuster spent two months in California leading Hardball’s coverage of the recall of Governor Gray Davis and the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
From 1996-2002, Shuster was a Washington, D.C. based correspondent for the Fox News Channel. He was at the Pentagon on 9/11 and led Fox’s coverage in Washington,D.C.of U.S.military operations in Afghanistan. During the Clinton administration, Shuster led Fox’s coverage of the Clinton investigations including “Whitewater,” the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Starr report, and the Senate impeachment trial.
From 1994–1996, Shuster was the lead investigative and political reporter for KATV (ABC) in Little Rock,Arkansas. He led the station’s coverage of the Whitewater investigation, including the indictment, trial, conviction, and resignation of Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker. Shuster’s series on corruption at the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Commission prompted changes in state law and earned Shuster an Emmy Award for Investigative Reporting.
From 1990–1994, Shuster was a field producer and assignment editor for CNN in their Washington, D.C.bureau.
In 2006, Shuster was the recipient of the prestigious “Bugle Award” given by the 1.3 million member organization “Disabled American Veterans.” The annual honor recognizes journalists who bring attention to disabled veterans. Shuster won for his extensive coverage of the 2005 National Disabled American Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Aspen,Colorado.
Shuster is a graduate of the Universityof Michigan. He lives in Washington, D.C.