Medicare: Fact and fiction

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a plan to end Medicare as we know it. They'd take our nation's promise to seniors and turn it into a voucher system that would raise seniors' health costs by thousands of dollars—all to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. Ryan also proposed a plan, which Romney said he would sign, to privatize Medicare. That could cost seniors nearly $6,400 a year.

With a plan like this, it's no wonder they're hiding behind bogus attacks on President Obama's record.

The reality is, President Obama's policies are strengthening Medicare and saving seniors money. Obamacare extended the life of Medicare by eight years without cutting benefits—which is why Paul Ryan included those exact same savings in his own budget.

Let's take a look at some of the distortions Romney and Ryan are peddling.

ROMNEY-RYAN: "President Obama cut Medicare by $700 billion."

FACT: The $700 billion in savings that are extending the life of Medicare through 2024 came from cutting unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, waste, and fraud—which is why Ryan put it in his budget too. Under President Obama, fraud prosecutions are up 75 percent, and we've recovered more in health care fraud than ever before.

ROMNEY-RYAN: "Current seniors won't be affected."

FACT: Romney and Ryan would repeal Obamacare, which would raise Medicare premiums for all seniors, raise prescription drug costs, and force seniors to pay out of pocket for cancer screenings and other preventive services.

ROMNEY-RYAN: "It's like Medicare Advantage."

FACT: Romney and Ryan would radically change Medicare by taking away guaranteed benefits and instead giving seniors a voucher that wouldn't keep up with health costs or ensure they can get the same health care they have today.

ROMNEY-RYAN: "It's a bipartisan plan."

FACT: Sen. Wyden voted against Ryan's budget and said it was "nonsense" to claim that he supported the Romney-Ryan budget or its extreme plan to end Medicare as we know it.

Bottom line: Romney-Ryan would end Medicare as we know it and raise seniors' health costs. President Obama is strengthening Medicare and helping seniors save money.