Mitt Romney has been playing offense on Medicare, accusing President Obama of paying for his health reform bill with money that should have extended the life of Medicare. Obama’s defenders, including the New York Times editorial page, have asserted that the accusation is false.
But one of the Senate Democrats who voted against the final version of Obamacare told The Washington Examiner that he voted against the bill because of how it weakened Medicare. (Earlier in the process, when he could have stopped the bill entirely, he voted in favor of Obamacare.)
“I voted against the final version,” Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said in April during an attempt to argue that he didn’t sell his earlier vote in support of the bill. Why? “Because they loaded it up with raising the taxes on the base for Medicare to pay for some of this stuff, and I always thought that that tax base — if it was ever utilized — would be to help bail out Medicare, not to take care of the health care reform.”
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., attacked Obama over those tax increases last week. “Take a look at your paycheck next time. Look at that line on your paycheck that [reads] payroll taxes,” Ryan said in Ohio, per The Weekly Standard. “You see our payroll taxes from our paychecks are supposed to go to two programs–Social Security and Medicare period. Now because of Obamacare they’re also going to pay for Obamacare.”
The Ryan budget repeals all of the tax increases in Obamacare, including the payroll tax increases, although it did retain the other cuts to Medicare first signed into law by President Obama. Romney, though, has said that he would not follow Ryan on that issue but would instead restore the funding to Medicare that Obamacare removed.