Congressman John Dingell today responded to the vice presidential debate from UAW Region 1A, where he attended a public watch party hosted by the 15th Congressional District Democratic Organization.
The crowd at Region 1A watched as the candidates continued the national conversation about the two very different paths Americans have to choose from on election day. According to Dingell, Vice President Biden spoke directly to the issues that affect Americans, while Congressman Paul Ryan obfuscated the issues, including his disastrous proposal to end Medicare as we know it by changing it into a voucher system.
"During tonight's debate, Paul Ryan repeated the same false claims about Medicare that have already been debunked numerous times by independent analysts," Dingell said. "But, as the Romney campaign has said before, they will "not be dictated by fact-checkers.'
"Ryan stated that the Obama Administration cut $716 billion from the Medicare budget, which is simply untrue. The $716 billion is savings from cutting overpayments to health insurance companies for the Medicare Advantage Program. Let me be clear: these savings do not impact the quality nor quantity of services available to Medicare recipients. Under the President's plan, the savings have been reinvested into Medicare to extend its solvency and close the doughnut hole. What Ryan hid from voters is the fact that he does cut Medicare by $716 billion in his budget -- but instead of using the savings to strengthen Medicare, he uses the savings to give the wealthiest Americans yet another tax break."
Dingell presided over the House of Representatives during the passage of Medicare, and has been a leading voice in support of the program since its inception. He has seen first-hand how Medicare has benefitted millions of Americans. As a watchdog for fraud and abuse in the program, Dingell has worked with the Obama Administration to cut unnecessary expenditures in the program.
"There are certainly improvements that can be made to Medicare without abolishing the entire system." Dingell said. "We must continue to crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse, and make other minor adjustments to the trust fund in order to keep Medicare solvent for future generations. President Obama and Vice President Biden understand this and throughout their first term have actively fought to make Medicare more efficient and effective.
"This fight is about preserving affordable, quality health care as right, not a privilege. It is very unfortunate that Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney do not feel the same way. This is not fight that I, nor the President, nor the 49 million Americans who benefit from Medicare are willing to back down from."
Dingell is a Democrat running for reelection in Michigan's 12th Congressional District.