If you’re turning 50 this year, you were born in 1962 — the dawn of a new American era in politics: JFK … civil rights … Vietnam. By the time you were learning long division, Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon. Government was making new promises to older Americans. When Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law, he pledged, quote: “No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and to their aunts.” You see, there are two sides to that promise — obligations to old and young alike. And we must honor both.
Today, our nation faces a political turning point. Government mismanagement and political cowardice are threatening both sides of LBJ’s pledge. Seniors are threatened by Obamacare, a law that would force steep cuts to real benefits in real time for real people. Meanwhile, younger Americans are burdened by an ever-growing national debt and a diminished future.
Here’s the good news: By embracing common-sense reforms now, we can get ahead of the problem and keep promises people have organized their lives around. You see, if we reform Medicare for my generation, we can protect it for those in or near retirement today.
The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare, because it represents the worst of both worlds. [Crowd reacts] I had a feeling there would be mixed reaction, so let me get into it. It weakens Medicare for today’s seniors and puts it at risk for the next generation. First, it funnels $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. Second, it puts 15 unelected bureaucrats in charge of Medicare’s future. Let’s talk about each one of these in turn. You may not have heard this side of the story.
By now you’ve probably heard a lot of claims and counterclaims about the president’s raid on Medicare. The president said that this would actually strengthen the program. He said it would improve the program’s solvency. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s just not true.
The money wasn’t walled off to stay in Medicare. Instead, the law turned Medicare into a piggy bank for Obamacare. You don’t have to take my word for it. Ask the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He works for the Obama administration, and his job is to look after your Medicare. Well, last year, we invited him to Congress to answer a simple question: If President Obama’s Medicare cuts were used to pay for new spending in Obamacare, how can they also improve Medicare’s solvency? His answer? They can’t. It’s simple: You can’t spend the same dollar twice. His exact words were, quote, “It takes two sets of money to make it happen.” President Obama spent one set on a government takeover of health care, and he never provided the other to strengthen Medicare.
So there it is, from the guy whose job it is to know. If anyone tries to tell you that Obamacare strengthened Medicare, just ask them, “Where’s the other $716 billion?”
But that’s not all the new health care law did. You see, Medicare is going bankrupt. Everyone understands this. Even President Obama said last year, quote, “If you look at the numbers, Medicare in particular will run out of money, and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up.” End quote.