Since Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan would be his running mate, some critics have said it shows Romney would be in favor of dismantling Medicare. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6) told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he agrees Medicare would be in danger if Romney becomes president. Pallone also said he’s hoping Gov. Chris Christie is able to move away from “the radical Republican agenda” during his keynote address at the Republican National Convention since he’s not running for president or vice president.
Pallone said he believes Medicare would be in danger under Romney and Ryan because in Ryan’s budget, he turns the benefits into a voucher, which means seniors would get a certain amount of money to buy private health insurance. Pallone said that idea becomes problematic.
“As time goes on, the amount of that voucher won’t be worth as much as the cost of that private insurance goes up and you’ll be paying more and more out of pocket if you can even find any insurance,” he said. “Remember, Mike, the reason we have Medicare is because seniors couldn’t get health insurance and I think you’d go back to the same situation again.”
When asked what changes he would make to Medicare to ensure its sustainability, Pallone said the main answer is growth. “The recession is what’s causing so many jobs to be lost, so many benefits to be lost and why the trust funds for Social Security, Medicare, veterans, whatever don’t have as much money as they used to,” he said. “So you have to grow the economy, create jobs.” He added that the Affordable Care Act supports Medicare for a few more years.
When asked about Vice President Joe Biden’s criticized speech where he suggested Romney and Ryan would put the audience “back in chains,” Pallone said he believes Biden was using a metaphor. “I think what he’s really trying to say is that it’s going to be harder and harder to find jobs, it’s going to be harder for the middle class to grow,” Pallone said. “The middle class is really at risk right now.”
Pallone said he hopes Christie will use the keynote address at the Republican National Convention to move away from what he called the radical Republican agenda since Christie isn’t running for national office.
“I’d like him to get up and basically say we shouldn’t privatize Medicare, that we shouldn’t privatize Social Security, sell Medicare to the insurance companies or sell Social Security to Wall Street,” Pallone said.