Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate has elevated the issue of Medicare reform to the forefront of the election conversation in a campaign that has largely focused on month to month job creation numbers.
The Romney campaign has kicked off its post-VP announcement messaging by voicing their broad support for the Medicare program.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul issued a statement Monday reiterating her candidate’s pledge to “[save] Medicare for future generations” and criticizing the President for the spending reductions for Medicare that accompanied the Affordable Care Act.
“President Obama has decided to campaign on how he ‘achieved’ cutting $700 billion from Medicare. With crushing new debt and looming tax hikes on families and job creators, it’s clear Americans can’t afford any more of President Obama’s achievements,” Saul said.
Romney delivered a similar message during an appearance on 60 Minutes Sunday evening during the first joint interview between the Presidential candidate and Ryan.
“There’s only one Preisdent that I know of in history who robbed Medicare $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own,” Romney told CBS’ Bob Schieffer. “What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare.”
Ryan’s budget proposal that originated in the House Budget Committee, which he chairs, promises dramatic restructuring of the Medicare program, including an increase in the Medicare eligibility age to 67 by 2033 and the replacement of the current program with vouchers for private health insurance for all new enrollees after 2022.
Political commentators have noted that the choice of reform-eager Ryan shifts the immediate geographical focus of the campaign to states such as Florida where a large share of the population is comprised of retirees, a demographic Romney will need to woo in large numbers come November.
Parting ways after a massive rally in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin Sunday, Romney is campaigning throughout Florida Monday while Paul Ryan tours Iowa.