Today, U.S. Representative John Dingell released the following statement regarding the recent attacks on Medicare by both Governor Mitt Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan:
"The entire Republican Party seems to be suffering from a form of economic amnesia, as though the last decade when we did it their way -- and crashed the economy in the process -- never happened. In selecting Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, Governor Romney introduced Medicare front and center as part of all of this debate and got the "who did-what-on Medicare" rumor mill spinning at full speed. Most of these rumors are misleading and half-truths, at best. As someone who intimately understands the Medicare program, I wish to put to rest this harmful misinformation.
"The Romney-Ryan budget ends Medicare as we know it. It puts millions of seniors and their families at risk. It would turn the program into a voucher system with shrinking benefits -- increasing a typical retiree's costs by $6,400.
"Medicaid is on the chopping block as well. If Ryan's plans to block-grant Medicaid and slash its funding were enacted, between 429,000 and 831,000 people with Medicaid in Michigan could lose their health insurance, including low-income children, seniors in nursing homes, and people with disabilities. And that is on top of the 473,000 Michigan residents who would be deprived of the opportunity to gain Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
"The American people seem to realize what's going on here, and most of them don't like it. Turning Medicare into a voucher system is a deeply unpopular step, as it should be. The Romney campaign knows it's unpopular, so they are running away from their positions, and trying to confuse the issue. So they talk about the $700 billion in Medicare savings achieved in the Affordable Care Act and call them cuts. This is simply untrue. And they know it isn't true: the Ryan budget that Mitt Romney promised to sign into law includes the very same savings that they're attacking now.
"I presided over the House of Representatives when Medicare and Medicaid were passed. I remember the difficulty aging Americans had not only paying for health care, but even qualifying for it. Now, all Americans can count on health care security in retirement. We must stand up for that guarantee."