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Romney introduces Paul Ryan as VP mate

August 11, 2012

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney introduced his choice as running mate, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, 42, Saturday morning at a campaign event in Norfolk, Va.

The Romney campaign earlier announced the choice in a press release Saturday morning.

In excerpts of the speech Ryan will deliver Saturday that were released by the Romney campaign, Ryan said, “We Americans look at one another’s success with pride, not resentment, because we know, as more Americans work hard, take risks, and succeed, more people will prosper, our communities will benefit, and individual lives will be improved and uplifted.

That theme is similar to ones Ryan has sounded in the past. He has been outspoken in saying that America must be “an upward mobility society.”

He told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow last February, “We don’t want a safety net that turns into a hammock that lulls people into dependency in this country. We want people to get up on their feet and grab that higher rung of the economic ladder.”

He said, “We don’t believe in class division. We believe in growth and prosperity, helping people when they are down on their luck get back on their feet, and pro-growth economic policies that put America in the lead, that make us competitive, that stop tearing people down in this zero-sum thinking.”

Ryan, first elected to the House in 1998, worked in college as staffer for Sen. Bob Kasten of Wisconsin, and later as a speechwriter for Jack Kemp and William Bennett and as an aide to Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.

As the author of an ambitious plan to redesign the Medicare program for older and disabled Americans, Ryan has long been the target of Democratic attacks.

If enacted, Ryan’s proposal would be the most far-reaching change in Medicare since the program was created in 1965.

In 2011, one Democratic group ran an ad showing a man – presumably Ryan – pushing a terrified elderly woman in a wheelchair off a cliff.

Ryan’s plan would gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age to 67. This phased-in increase in the eligibility age would start in 2023.

Ryan’s proposal would do away with Medicare’s open-ended payments for those born in 1958 and later, (that is, people who turn 65 in 2023 or later).

Instead, beginning in 2023, people in Medicare would be given a choice of private plans competing alongside the traditional fee-for-service option.

Medicare would provide a payment to pay for or offset the premium of the plan chosen by the senior. The payments would be higher for low-income people and lower for high-income people. The payments would grow over time but would not necessarily keep pace with the increase in the cost of medical care.

The Congressional Budget Office, in an assessment last year, said Ryan’s plan would result in “much lower deficits and debt in the long run.” But the CBO also found that under Ryan’s redesigned Medicare, “most elderly people would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system.”

One prominent Democrat, Sen., Ron Wyden of Oregon joined with Ryan last year on a proposal to redesign Medicare.

Wyden said in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post that the Wyden-Ryan proposal was not a finished piece of legislation, but “simply a policy paper intended to start a conversation about how Democrats and Republicans might work together to uphold the Medicare Guarantee.”

The Oregon Democrat also added, “Wyden-Ryan doesn’t eliminate the traditional Medicare plan, instead it guarantees that seniors who want to enroll in Medicare’s traditional fee for service plan will always have that option.”

He added that, “Wyden-Ryan doesn’t privatize Medicare because Medicare beneficiaries already have the option of enrolling in private health insurance plans. Wyden-Ryan makes those private plans more robust and accountable by forcing them to — for the first time — compete directly with traditional Medicare.”

But Wyden also said “some Republicans will undoubtedly declare their support for Wyden-Ryan without knowing what that means or believing in its principles. Mitt Romney, for example, claims to have helped write Wyden-Ryan even though I have never spoken to him about Medicare reform”

As part of its fiscal year 2013 budget resolution which it approved in March, the House supported Ryan’s Medicare reform plan. The vote was 228 to 191, with no Democrats voting for the proposal and 10 Republicans voting against it.




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