Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Pelosi: The truth about Medicare

By Nancy Pelosi, Special to CNN
October 16, 2012 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, order food at a Wendy's restuarant in Richmond Heights, Ohio, on Tuesday. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, order food at a Wendy's restuarant in Richmond Heights, Ohio, on Tuesday.
HIDE CAPTION
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
From the campaign trail
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nancy Pelosi: Debate showed Obama would save Medicare, Romney would not
  • She says Affordable Care Act extend Medicare's life, without cutting benefits, raising cost
  • She says Romney voucher plan would remove guarantee of Medicare benefits
  • Pelosi: Medicare created under Democrat LBJ; Obama would preserve it for future

Editor's note: Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the House, is the House Democratic Leader.

(CNN) -- The first presidential debate highlighted a clear choice on Medicare: President Obama's vision, guaranteeing the fundamental promise of Medicare for seniors today and into the future, versus Mitt Romney's blueprint for the eventual destruction of Medicare as we know it.

Ahead of the next presidential debate tomorrow in New York, it is important to make clear that either the Republican nominee does not know the facts or was willing to deceive the American people with false claims. Romney repeated the standard Republican falsehood that the Affordable Care Act cut $716 billion for Medicare beneficiaries. That is not true, and they know it.

Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi

Here are the facts, supported by independent critics, and they are indisputable:

The Affordable Care Act extends the life of Medicare by nearly a decade by reducing the rate of increase in payments to health care providers, by reducing costly taxpayer subsidies to insurance companies, and by reducing waste, fraud and abuse. The law requires hospitals to improve their quality of care, reduce infections and re-admissions, and increase efficiency. It places a premium on value, not volume, in medical procedures.

Opinion: Do people listen to fact checks?

The Affordable Care Act does not cut a single benefit or add a single penny to the cost of insurance for any Medicare beneficiary. Even before the law fully takes effect, seniors are experiencing the benefits. The gap in prescription drug coverage -- the so-called "doughnut hole"-- is starting to close, and more than 5.5 million seniors have saved an average of more than $600 each year on prescription drugs. All 49 million Medicare enrollees now have access to free wellness visits, checkups without a co-pay, and free preventive care services like mammograms and other cancer screenings.

Romney claims that if you're 60 or older, "you don't need to listen any further." Actually, seniors need to listen carefully -- very carefully -- because Medicare will be bankrupt by 2016 under the Romney-Ryan plan.

Join CNN for the presidential debates
Watch Tuesday's presidential debate and CNN's exclusive expert analysis starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com and CNN's mobile apps. Become an analyst for your friends with our new online clip-and-share feature that lets you share your favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter.

According to a report last month from the Center for American Progress Action Fund and co-authored by Harvard economist David Cutler, the Romney blueprint would cost today's senior more than $11,000 during retirement and force them to pay more for prescriptions and premiums, while cutting off access to critical services and benefits.

Opinion: Romney is not a liar

Republican Newt Gingrich has said that Medicare will "wither on the vine." Republicans have been developing and pursuing this agenda for two decades -- an effort to take our country back to the era before Medicare, when tens of millions of seniors were impoverished by health costs.

3 questions on Romney's Medicare plan
Reality Check: Medicare
No Medicare voucher program, Biden vows
Ryan gets mixed reviews at AARP meeting

It's not just today's seniors who should listen carefully to Romney's plan. For those under age 55, the Republican proposal is a voucher plan that ends the Medicare guarantee.

As the AARP made clear, the Republican proposal risks "simply increasing costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare's promise of secure health coverage -- a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work."

AARP's words echo those of President Lyndon Johnson's on the day he signed the Medicare bill: "No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. 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 their aunts. And no longer will this nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country."

That's what President Obama and Democrats are fighting to preserve: the American Dream that says, if you work hard, play by the rules, and take responsibility, anyone can succeed, support his or her family, and look forward to a secure retirement. Voters, be aware this year: Medicare is on the ballot, and its future is in jeopardy. Democrats created Medicare and will always fight to strengthen it for our seniors and for their families. And under President Obama's leadership we are moving forward.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Nancy Pelosi.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
James Dawes says calling ISIS evil over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1223 GMT (2023 HKT)
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says he learned that the territory ISIS wants to control is amazingly complex.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1450 GMT (2250 HKT)
David Weinberger says Twitter and other social networks have been vested with a responsibility, and a trust, they did not ask for.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
John Inazu says the slogan "We are Ferguson" is meant to express empathy and solidarity. It's not true: Not all of us live in those circumstances. But we all made them.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Cerue Garlo says Liberia is desperate for help amid a Ebola outbreak that has touched every aspect of life.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1742 GMT (0142 HKT)
Eric Liu says Republicans who want to restrict voting may win now, but the party will suffer in the long term.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1538 GMT (2338 HKT)
Jay Parini: Jesus, Pope and now researchers agree: Wealth decreases our ability to sympathize with the poor.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Judy Melinek offers a medical examiner's perspective on what happens when police kill people like Michael Brown.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 2203 GMT (0603 HKT)
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT)
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 2152 GMT (0552 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette notes that this fall, minority students will outnumber white students at America's public schools.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 2121 GMT (0521 HKT)
Humans have driven to extinction four marine mammal species in modern times. As you read this, we are on the brink of losing the fifth, write three experts.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1158 GMT (1958 HKT)
It's been ten days since Michael Brown was killed, and his family is still waiting for information from investigators about what happened to their young man, writes Mel Robbins
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1242 GMT (2042 HKT)
The former U.K. prime minister and current U.N. envoy says there are 500 days left to fulfill the Millennium Goals' promise to children.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
Peter Bergen says the terror group is a huge threat in Iraq but only a potential one in the U.S.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Pepper Schwartz asks why young women are so entranced with Kardashian, who's putting together a 352-page book of selfies
ADVERTISEMENT