Entries in Medicare (65)


Obamacare Offers Slight Improvement to Medicare Outlook

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new government review shows that the passage of the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- has extended the life of the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund by nearly a decade.

According to a press release from the Department of the Treasury, the Medicare HI Trust Fund now has sufficient funding to cover its obligations through 2026, two years later than was projected last year. In the last report issued before Obamacare was passed, the trust fund was expected to run out in 2017.

A separate review from the Social Security Board of Trustees determined that the Old Age, Survivor's and Disability Insurance fund will last until 2033. The Department of the Treasury's press release points out that at that point, annual revenues from the dedicated payroll tax would be enough to fund approximately 75 percent of the scheduled benefits through 2087.

Despite the improvements, both Medicare and Social Security face added difficulty as the baby boom generation begins to retire. Because of that, both Democrats and Republicans have put forth proposals to extend the lives of the two entitlement programs.

The two sides remain far apart, however. Republicans hope that any budget agreement will include deep spending cuts, while Obama is seeking a deal including cuts in government spending, such as reductions in entitlement programs, but also tax increases.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Immigration May Help Fund Medicare

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- If you're growing old and depending on Medicare, you have someone to thank for keeping the system afloat: Immigrants, including those who entered the country illegally.

A Harvard Medical School study published on Wednesday found that immigrants generated a $13.8 billion surplus in the Medicare system in 2009. That's means they put a lot more into the system than they took out. Meanwhile, people born in the U.S. accounted for a $30.9 billion deficit.

The biggest reason immigrants are able to keep the system alive is because they're more likely to be of working age and part of the labor force. Of all immigrants in the U.S., 80 percent are between the ages of 18-64, versus 59 percent of the U.S.-born population, according to 2010 census data.

You generally have to be 65 years of age or older to receive Medicaid. There are a lot more native-born people than immigrants eligible for the federal healthcare program, so that means immigrants are less likely to be a drain.

Non-citizens specifically play an outsized role in paying our national Medicare bills.

Legal immigrants contribute to the system through payroll taxes, using valid Social Security numbers.

But undocumented immigrants also add to the coffers, some using other people's socials. Since undocumented immigrants can't receive Medicare, they could be paying for a service they'll never use.

Even when immigrants do use Medicare, they tend to use fewer services than people born in the U.S., according to the report.

All of this is a pretty big deal. Medicare makes up a fifth of all annual healthcare expenditures in the U.S., and politicians are constantly warning that system might fail as our population continues to grow older.

An immigration reform bill that's heading to the Senate floor in early June would create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. If a bill like that passes, millions of people could become eligible to use Medicare who were previously barred.

Still, immigrants would probably continue to underwrite the Medicare system, the report found. Since immigrants tend to be younger, if the country keeps bringing in immigrant workers, they'll likely keep adding more to that system.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Graham Says No Debt Ceiling Increase Without Entitlement Reform

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) – Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), said Sunday he would vote no to raise the debt ceiling, if concessions to reform Social Security and Medicare were not made, despite a previous statement by Graham to suggest that most Republicans were never willing to stomach a U.S. default back in 2011.

“Why would I raise the debt ceiling again unless we address what put us in debt to begin with? I’m not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get serious about keeping the country from becoming Greece, saving Social Security and Medicare,” Graham said today on “Fox News Sunday.”

Graham’s not alone.  House Speaker John Boehner, (R-Ohio), said in an interview earlier this month on “Fox News Sunday” that House Republicans will never give up control of the debt ceiling.

“It’s the only way to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would if left alone,” Boehner said.

Congress voted in July to avert a U.S. default as part of a larger deficit reduction package, but not before the uncertainty cost the federal government $1.3 billion due to higher borrowing costs, according to the Government Accountability Office.

After Congress reached a deal in 2011, Graham told Politico that, in the end, Republicans weren’t willing to let the country default.

“Our problem is we made a big deal about this for three months. How many Republicans have been on TV saying, ‘I’m not going to raise the debt limit?’ You know, Mitch [McConnell] says, ‘I’m not going to raise the debt limit unless we talk about Medicare.’ And I’ve said I’m not going to raise the debt limit until we do something about spending and entitlements.’ So we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves,” Graham said.

“We shouldn’t have said that if we didn’t mean it.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither wrote a letter to Congress this week warning that the United States is fast approaching its debt limit and that the country would likely default without action in the next couple of months.

Most economists believe that a U.S. default would throw the worldwide economy into chaos.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Joe Biden Courts Seniors, Blasts Romney-Ryan on Social Security, Medicare

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(BOCA RATON, Fla.) -- Vice President Joe Biden tried to court the senior vote Friday afternoon and draw a contrast between how President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney approach two issues of great concern to senior citizens -- Social Security and Medicare.

The vice president, speaking at the Century Village retirement community, alleged that Romney’s plan would raise taxes on Social Security and the Republican presidential ticket would turn Medicare into “vouchercare.”

“If Gov. Romney’s plan goes into effect, it could mean that everyone, every one of you, would be paying more on taxes on your Social Security,” Biden said. “The average senior would have to pay $460 a year more in taxes for their Social Security. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s … while these guys are … hemorrhaging tax cuts for the super wealthy.”

Biden’s allegation is based on a Tax Policy Center analysis that tried to explain some of Romney’s economic goals -- cutting taxes by 20 percent, closing undisclosed loopholes and balancing the budget. Romney’s plan does not specify that he would achieve such goals by raising taxes on Social Security, and Biden has his own history with raising taxes on Social Security. While serving in the Senate, he voted for President Clinton’s 1993 budget, which raised taxes on Social Security benefits.

Biden did not mention that vote in his speech Friday, but the Romney campaign later attacked Biden over Social Security taxes.

“Vice President Biden is using Social Security to fabricate the Obama campaign’s latest false attacks,” Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Romney, said in a statement. “However, these attacks will backfire when voters learn he has repeatedly supported higher Social Security taxes, and that seniors face a 25 percent across-the-board benefit cut because of President Obama’s failure to lead on this issue. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a plan to save and strengthen Social Security that does not raise taxes and ensures that our middle-class seniors receive all of the benefits they’ve earned.”

Biden, calling retirement security a “family affair,” defended President Obama’s Medicare plan, saying it was endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the AARP. He argued that that Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would turn Medicare into “vouchercare” and increase the direct costs seniors would have to bear.

“Rather than tell you, since their convention or even at their convention, what their position on Medicare is, they’ve gone out of the way and spent tens of millions -- I don’t know maybe hundreds, I don’t know how much, millions of dollars -- on advertising telling you what they say our position on Medicare is,” Biden said. “All of you in this room know that President Obama has increased the benefits available to people on Medicare today by the action he took.”

Biden claimed a federal budget proposal made by Ryan and endorsed by Romney, a plan that later was modified, would have had dire consequences for seniors’ Medicare costs.

“Folks, I ask you the rhetorical question: Can you imagine me as vice president, can you imagine the president supporting a plan that would, under any circumstances, would raise the cost for seniors $6,400, your out-of-pocket?” Biden said.

Biden previewed a potential attack line he and President Obama could use in their upcoming debates as he argued a federal budget Ryan proposed as a congressman would cut discretionary spending by 19 percent.

“The Ryan budget calls for every single program in the government, from the FBI to every program, to be cut by 19 percent, a devastating cut,” Biden said. “Then, whenever we raise this, and I think you’ll see this in the debates, whenever you raise it they say, ‘Oh no, we’re not going to cut that program.’"

“Well which one are you going to cut 40 percent?” Biden asked. “Notice they will not name a single program, not a single thing.”

Biden also digressed to praise President Obama on Israel, saying the president was working to ensure the U.S. ally’s security is maintained -- despite claims to the contrary in Republican attacks.

“I’m proud to say that although, as we say in my family, although I was raised by a righteous Christian, my dad, I was raised by an awful lot of folks back home politically who have taught me early on, along with my pop, that we have certain special obligations around the world. And one of those is Israel,” Biden said. “I just want to tell you how proud I am, how proud I am, to stand shoulder to shoulder with a guy who has done more for Israel’s physical security than any president I’ve served with.”

Biden, who was accompanied by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is currently on a two-day campaign swing through Florida, his eighth trip to the state this year.

Biden told the crowd that he wouldn’t mind making Florida his home.

“Hello, Century Village! I’m here and I don’t want to go home,” Biden said to laughs from the older crowd. “We were riding in, the young man in the car with me, riding along as two young children and a very young guy, and he said, you know, God, he said, ‘I’d like to live here!’ I said, ‘You gotta wait 25 years, you don’t qualify!’”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Booed on Obamacare at AARP 

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- Paul Ryan addressed a crowd Friday in New Orleans that was very different from the supportive groups he gives his stump speech to in battleground states around the country.

While those crowds are always cheering, this group of senior citizens at the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP, booed the vice presidential nominee throughout most of his speech, especially when he delivered his signature promise to repeal the president's health care plan, or "Obamacare," which AARP has endorsed.

The 42-year-old, who did not seem rattled by the uneasy reception in the Big Easy, acknowledged that he is younger than the attendees at AARP's national convention Friday, but said he has "given a good deal of thought to later seasons in life."

Much of his speech was spent blasting the president -- who spoke to the convention earlier via satellite -- for the Affordable Care Act and defending his own signature health care plan, a message similar to one he delivered early in his candidacy at the world's largest retirement community, "The Villages," in central Florida, but one with a very different reaction from the audience.

"The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare, because it represents the worst of both worlds," Ryan said to cries of "No!" from the audience. "It weakens Medicare for today's seniors and puts it at risk for the next generation. First, it funnels $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for a new entitlement we didn't even ask for. Second, it puts 15 unelected bureaucrats in charge of Medicare's future."

Ryan included those same cuts in his signature budget plan -- the same plan Mitt Romney has said he would sign if he becomes president -- but Ryan says he was forced to build his plan on those cuts because they were already signed into law.

The $716 billion in cuts do not affect benefits for today's seniors. Instead, they reduce provider reimbursements and are intended to curb waste, fraud and abuse.

Ryan's plan has come under attack from Democrats because it would fundamentally change the plan, essentially making it a voucher program that critics say could cost senior citizens more.

President Obama addressed the group via satellite before the GOP vice presidential nominee and took a swipe at rival Mitt Romney's claim that the 47 percent of the electorate that will vote for Obama are people who are "dependent upon government" and believe "that they are victims."

"Medicare and Social Security are not handouts. You've paid into these programs your whole lives," the president said to applause. "You've earned them and as president it's my job to make sure Medicare and Social Security remain strong for today's seniors and future generations."

Obama argued that his signature legislative achievement -- "Obamacare" -- has extended the financial solvency of Medicare and lowered costs for millions of American seniors.

Invoking a new administration study of the law, Obama claimed the average Medicare recipient will save $5,000 over the next 10 years thanks to provisions in the Affordable Care Act. He said the measure to close the so-called prescription drug doughnut hole has saved 5.5 million seniors an average of $641 apiece this year alone.

The Obama campaign has been attacking Romney-Ryan on the airwaves in key battleground states, including a new TV ad launching Friday that says the Republicans' proposed "premium support" plan for Medicare -- a voucher-style system -- will heap costs on seniors to the tune of $6,400 per year.

Ryan doesn't like the term "voucher" and says his plan is the only way to save Medicare from going completely bankrupt, and Romney has said his plan for Medicare is nearly "identical" to Ryan's.

It was this message that Ryan brought to the convention, pointing out that the audience probably heard the word "voucher" from the president earlier Friday.

"I think you might have heard the word 'voucher' earlier today, right?" Ryan asked the crowd, referring to the president's speech. "Let me explain. That's a poll-tested word basically designed to scare today's seniors. Here's what a voucher is: A voucher is you go to your mailbox, and you get a check, and you go buy something, and you're on your own. Nobody's proposing that. What we're proposing is an idea that I proposed with a Democrat in the Senate last year. What we're proposing is an idea that came out of Bill Clinton's 1999 Commission to Save Medicare."

During the question-and-answer portion, Ryan was asked how he would work for bipartisan solutions to the issues of Social Security and Medicare.

"Don't demean the opposite side, don't demagogue Democrats," Ryan answered. "Invite them into a coalition to work with us, to talk, and then solve these problems. You see, you can get to common ground on these problems if you treat people with respect, without compromising your principles, and the very existence of this plan to save and strengthen Medicare, a plan that has been supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, is existence of the fact that we can get this done."

Like at the Villages, Ryan's mom, Betty Douglas, was on hand to watch him and it was when he called her his "hero" that he received the warmest applause.

"When I think about Medicare, I don't just think about charts and graphs and numbers," Ryan said. "My thoughts go back to a house on Garfield Street in Janesville. My wonderful grandma, Janet, had Alzheimer's and moved in with Mom and me.... We had help from Medicare, and it was there, just like it's there for my mom today. My mom is here with me today. She is a Florida senior. That time in my life, when my nana lived with my mom and me, is when we grew the closest. I'm very proud of my mom, and I'm happy she is having a great retirement. Medicare is a big part of her security."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Ad Misleads on AARP Position on Romney

Alex Wong/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Obama campaign has released their third new TV ad in 24 hours, a 30-second spot invoking the AARP Voter Guide to discredit the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan.

This ad misleads by suggesting that AARP states as “fact” what is the Obama campaign’s view.

“Fact: Barack Obama will protect your guaranteed benefits and will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program,” the ad says, showing excerpts from the AARP guide. “Fact: Mitt Romney would take away Medicare as guaranteed benefits and instead give future retirees ‘premium support’ or vouchers.”

An examination of the AARP guide reveals, however, that the nonpartisan organization does not make either of those claims.

The document quotes directly from each candidate’s website about his plan for Medicare reform.  The section “AARP’s Position” makes no mention of Obama or Romney and is sufficiently broad that one could argue either candidate’s plan fits the bill.

Here’s that section in the voter guide:

“Medicare should be strengthened and improved so both current and future generations can count on having access to high-quality, affordable coverage.  Medicare should continue to guarantee a specific set of benefits that are affordable and meet a person’s health care needs. Medicare should offer choices that ensure access to high-quality health care. Medicare should improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of care by emphasizing value and cracking down on fraud, waste, and abuse.”

AARP senior vice president John Hishta said in a statement last month after Obama first invoked the group in a TV ad that the group “is a nonpartisan organization and we do not endorse political candidates.”

“For the last 26 years, we’ve been providing voters with balanced information, without all the political jargon and spin, so they can make their own decisions on Election Day,” Hishta said.

To be sure, AARP has opposed proposals to create a “premium support,” or voucher-style, system for Medicare, a stance that would seem to pit them against the Romney-Ryan ticket on a matter of policy.

In a letter to members of Congress in March, AARP CEO A. Barry Rand wrote of the House GOP budget, “By creating a ‘premium support’ system for future Medicare beneficiaries, the proposal is likely to simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage -- a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work.”

The group also opposes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a move it says would among other things re-open the prescription drug “doughnut hole” for seniors and lead to higher costs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


In Appeal to Fla. Seniors, Obama Blasts Romney’s Medicare Plan

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(MELBOURNE, Fla.) — Courting senior voters in the key swing state of Florida, President Obama on Sunday ramped up his attack against Mitt Romney’s Medicare plan, saying the GOP presidential nominee would increase health care costs for retired Americans and bankrupt the popular entitlement program.

“I want you to know, Florida, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher,” Obama told roughly 3,000 supporters packed into a gymnasium at the Florida Institute of Technology. “That is going to be part of what’s at stake in this election.

“Their voucher plan for Medicare would bankrupt Medicare,” he said. “Our plan strengthens Medicare. No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of the insurance companies. They should retire with the dignity and the respect and the care that they earned.”

Under the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan, seniors beginning in 2023 would receive payments to buy private health insurance or traditional Medicare.

“They want to give the money back to the insurance companies and then put them in charge of Medicare,” Obama said.

The president pounced on a new analysis by the Center for American Progress that found that, under the Romney plan, seniors turning 65 in 2023 would see their health care costs increase by $59,500 during retirement.

“One report just said that by the end of the next decade, our opponent’s plan would mean as much as $16 to $26 billion in new profits for insurance companies,” Obama said. “So basically, your costs would rise by the thousands so that their profits can rise by billions.”

Putting a face on the Medicare debate, the president this morning made a surprise stop for breakfast with two retired couples at the Ossorio Bakery and Café in Cocoa, Fla.

“After a lifetime of work, they’ve been able to save enough to have a comfortable retirement, but that’s only because Medicare is there, rock solid for them,” he later explained at the rally. “Only because we have made that commitment that says if you work hard all your life then you should have some basic security, not to live lavishly, but to know it’s going to be there for you.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ryan Brands Himself ‘Gen X’ While Pitching Medicare

Win McNamee/Getty Images(SPRINGFIELD, Mo.) -- Paul Ryan is only 42, the same age as Mitt Romney’s eldest son Tagg, and in an interview Thursday he tried to sell and explain his Medicare plan by mentioning that fact.

“Well, Larry, as you know, I’m in the under 55 generation, from the X-generation,” Ryan told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow in excerpts released early from an interview to air Thursday evening.

Kudlow asked Ryan about younger people not liking his signature health care plan because although it doesn’t touch Medicare for those over 55 it does overhaul it for those younger than 55. Ryan has said it’s the only way to save the program from bankruptcy, but Democrats say seniors could end up paying thousands more.

“The proposals we’re advancing are bipartisan proposals,” Ryan said. “It has bipartisan support in Congress today. It’s an idea that came from Bill Clinton’s 1999 commission to save Medicare. And it’s an idea that says you get a list of guaranteed coverage options… You choose among these competing plans, including traditional Medicare, for your comprehensive Medicare benefit. And then Medicare subsidizes your premiums based on who you are -- less for the wealthy, more for the middle income person, and total coverage for those who are low-income and sick. This is choice and competition.”

Ryan also previewed his convention speech for Kudlow:

“We believe we owe the country an alternative to the path the president has put us on. It’s a nation in debt, in doubt, and decline. We want to get back to the American idea that opportunity society with a safety net, a society of growth, of opportunity, of upper mobility. And I want to spell out exactly what that means, what the American idea is, and how we plan to retrieve that and get us back on the right track,” Ryan said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Defends Medicare Plan, Accuses President Obama of 'Raiding It'

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(THE VILLAGES, Fla.) -- With his 78-year-old mother by his side, Paul Ryan told a crowd of several thousand retirees that he and Mitt Romney have a plan that will save Medicare from bankruptcy and accused President Obama of "raiding it."

Since the House Budget Committee chairman joined the GOP ticket one week ago today, Medicare has suddenly become the signature issue of the presidential campaign.

"Like a lot of Americans, when I think about Medicare it's not just a program, it's not just a bunch of numbers, it's what my mom relies on, it's what my grandma had," Ryan, dressed in a blue polo shirt and khakis, told the crowd, many of whom wore Romney/Ryan visors.

"My grandma moved in with us -- with my mom and me -- when I was in high school," he said. "She had advanced Alzheimer's. My mom and I were her two primary caregivers. You learn a lot about life; you learn a lot about your elderly seniors in your family; you learn a lot about Alzheimer's.

"Medicare was there for our family, for my grandma, when we needed it then; and Medicare is there for my mom while she needs it now, and we have to keep that guarantee," he said.

Ryan's mother, Betty Douglas, lives half the year in Ft. Lauderdale in southern Florida and half the year in their hometown of Janesville, Wis.

In front of the sea of seniors, the vice presidential candidate accused President Obama of cutting $716 billion from Medicare to pay for his health care plan.

Ryan included those same cuts in his signature budget plan -- the same plan Mitt Romney has said he would sign if he becomes president -- but Ryan says he was forced to build his plan on those cuts because they were already signed into law.

The $716 billion in cuts do not affect benefits for today's seniors. Instead, they reduce provider reimbursements and are intended to curb waste, fraud and abuse.

Ryan's plan has come under attack from Democrats because it would fundamentally change the plan, essentially making it a voucher program that critics say could cost senior citizens more.

Ryan says his plan is the only way to save Medicare from going completely bankrupt, and Romney has said his plan for Medicare is nearly "identical" to Ryan's.

Ryan has experience selling the message to seniors, but instead of the white board and complex message that Romney brought out at a press conference earlier in the week, the vice presidential candidate simplified and defended it in just a few sentences, saying "the best way to save Medicare is to empower" seniors.

"It's a plan that says: do not change benefits for people 55 and above, and for those of us who are younger, when we become Medicare eligible, we get a choice of guaranteed coverage options. Guaranteed affordability options. Guaranteed affordability, including traditional Medicare. So we get to pick the plan for us when we retire, and that means all those providers compete against each other for our business," Ryan said to the crowd, which answered him at times with chants of, "Go Paul!"

Although the crowd was excited and plenty of women reached out to give hugs to Ryan on the ropeline, the audience was nothing like the around 40,000 people who came out in thousands of decorated golf carts to the same town square four years ago to see Sarah Palin. In January, about 5,000 people were at Romney's rally here.

At the Villages, Ryan mentioned the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a Medicare cost-cutting board, for the first time on the stump. Opponents of IPAB say it gives too much control to bureaucrats and could force cuts in health care that is essential to the sick and elderly.

Sarah Palin made them famous by calling them "death panels." Today, Ryan didn't go that far, but he still sent a scary message about the president's plan.

"He puts a board of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in charge of Medicare who are required to cut Medicare in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors," Ryan said. "You want to know what Medicare is saying about this? From Medicare officials themselves, one out of six of our hospitals and our nursing homes will go out of business as a result of this. Four million seniors are projected to lose their Medicare advantage plans that they enjoy and they choose today under this 'Obamacare' plan.

"What's worse is the president's campaign calls this an achievement," he said. "Do you think raiding Medicare to pay for 'Obamacare' is an achievement? Do you think empowering a board of bureaucrats to cut Medicare an achievement? Neither do I. Medicare should not be used as a piggy bank for 'Obamacare.' Medicare should be used to be the promise that it made to our current seniors. Period. End of Story."

Ryan promised that he would make sure IPAB would "not mess with my mom's healthcare or your mom's healthcare" and employed a move he's used at Medicare town halls in his own district in Wisconsin.

"Let me just see a show of hands. How many of you are 55 or over?" Ryan asked the crowd.

A sea of hands raised, causing both Ryan and the large audience to break into laughter.

"Wow. OK. OK, how many of you are not?" Ryan said. "Our solution to preserve, protect, and save Medicare does not affect your benefits. Let me repeat that. Our plan does not affect the benefits for people who are in or near retirement. It's a promise that was made and it's a promise that must be kept.

"But in order to make sure we can guarantee that promise -- for my mom's generation, for those baby boomers who are retiring every day -- we must reform it for my generation," he said. "To save it for this generation, you have to reform it for my generation so it doesn't go bankrupt when we retire."

The Villages is a conservative enclave, but a few protesters wearing Obama T-shirts did show up. A plane flew above dragging a sign that read: "Paul Ryan: Hands off our Medicare!"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama’s Answer to Romney Medicare Attack?

Obama For America(WASHINGTON) -- A new Obama campaign TV ad airing today in eight swing states invokes the powerful AARP in response to Republican attacks on the president’s Medicare plan.

The 30-second spot, dubbed “Facts,” is the first from Obama this campaign that addresses Medicare, citing AARP’s support for $716 billion in Medicare spending cuts imposed by the health care law that are now a focal point of debate.

“And the Ryan plan?” the narrator says. “AARP says it would undermine Medicare and could lead to higher costs for seniors. And experts say Ryan’s voucher plan could raise future retirees costs more than $6,000.”

AARP says it has 40 million members.

Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney and running-mate Rep. Paul Ryan have argued that Obama has undermined Medicare by reducing payments to providers and not addressing the program’s long-term financial sustainability. They propose restoring the Obama cuts and eventually transitioning the program to a fixed benefit, voucher-style system that they say would reduce costs.

“President Obama’s new ad, ‘Facts,’ gets the facts wrong,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said. “The facts concerning the president’s record on Medicare are clear: 1) Obama cut the program by $716 billion, 2) millions will be forced to lose their Medicare Advantage coverage and 3) the program will go bankrupt in 2024.”

Obama campaign aides believe that the backing and brand-name influence of the nation’s largest – and nonpartisan – advocacy group for seniors will effectively neutralize the GOP claims.

Henneberg did not immediately respond to questions about AARP’s assessment of the competing approaches to Medicare or whether the group’s reputation among seniors would make the Romney-Ryan argument more difficult.

The new Obama ad will air in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, the campaign said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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