Mitt Romney unveiled his economic policy today and in case you’re wondering his position on Medicare reform is this: he’ll propose something that’s similar but different from Paul Ryan’s Medicare privatization scheme. ‘Medicare’ — one of the single biggest drivers of government spending — is mentioned just twice in the 88-page report:
Any serious attempt to rein in spending will have to include entitlement reform. This issue is among the most complex facing policymakers, but some basic principles guide Mitt Romney’s position. First, we must keep the promises made to our current retirees: their Social Security and Medicare benefits should not be affected. But second, we should ensure that the promises that we make to younger generations are promises we can keep. [...]
Similarly, with respect to Medicare, the plan put forward by Congressman Paul Ryan makes important strides in the right direction by keeping the system solvent and introducing market-based dynamics. As president, Romney’s own plan will differ, but it will share those objectives.
Romney also reiterates his proposal to block grant the Medicaid program, which Republican governors recently rejected as a one-size-doesn’t -fit all solution. As Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) recently explained at the unveiling of the Republican Governors Association’s health policy report, “not all Republican governors may want a block grant. … It’s up to the states to decide.” Indeed, as a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report has pointed out, converting the existing matching rate formula into a block grant would give states less money that they would have otherwise received and force local governments to cut eligibility to the program. Kaiser examined different scenarios for state responses to reduced federal Medicaid spending and estimated 31 to 44 million Americans could lose their health insurance coverage.