Our guest blogger is Emily Oshima Lee, a research associate on the health policy team at the Center for American Progress.
In its first specific response to the recent CAP Action Fund report that detailed the exorbitant extra costs all seniors would have to pay under the Romney-Ryan premium support plan, Romney’s campaign claims that the CAPAF analysis is incorrectly based on the assumption that Romney’s premium support proposal includes a voucher cap. The CAPAF analysis did, indeed, assume that Romney’s premium support proposal would include a voucher cap – because he endorsed such a plan in December 2011.
The structure of the voucher program CAPAF used in its analysis is, in fact, identical to the cap Rep. Paul Ryan proposed in his 2012 House Budget Plan, which Romney has heartily endorsed multiple times, calling the plan “marvelous,” “an excellent piece of work,” and stating that he was “very supportive” of the plan that was “very much consistent with what [he] put out earlier.” A top Romney adviser even stated that Romney “would have signed” the Ryan budget, although Romney’s advisers have had trouble articulating which policies, exactly, he would support in the past. CAPAF felt that it was fair and reasonable to use the details of the Romney-endorsed Ryan budget to analyze the effects of the plan because Romney has failed to outline the specifics of his premium support proposal.
The question on the amount of the voucher, in fact, is featured as one of several “Frequently Asked Questions About Mitt’s Plan” on his campaign website. The question and response on his website read:
How high will the premium support be? How quickly will it grow?
Mitt continues to work on refining the details of his plan, and he is exploring different options.
The response does not provide any information on which options Romney is exploring, and certainly does not specify the rate of growth. As a recent Boston Globe article noted, “Romney’s plan is not clear about how quickly premium support payments would grow, and it does not explicitly reject the idea of a cap…Romney makes no guarantees that vouchers will keep up with insurance costs.” Yet, even as Romney fails to provide any specifics, his camp asserts that “there has been insufficient attention paid to the details of the various proposals.” Other than his statements of support for the 2012 House Budget Plan, Romney has not provided any details that might allow the public to figure out how his proposals, when implemented, would affect seniors, the national budget, and the solvency of Medicare.