Since Paul Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate for the Republican ticket, it seems that Social Security and Medicare have been the programs they want to challenge Obama on; so, Ryan decided on Saturday to go on the offensive regarding Medicare. He decided to attack President Obama’s health care plan, in detail, and chose the Villages, Florida as the location to do so. He also brought with him extra ammunition, in the form of his mother, to drive home the point to voters that the health program “was there for our family” and “we have to keep that guarantee.”
Ryan tried to prove his point to those present at a sprawling retirement community Saturday. The Republican ticket has come under heavy criticism from the President for proposals Ryan has made in Congress to overhaul the Medicare program. According to Ryan, Medicare will be protected for people near and in retirement; however, he wants to see younger generations offered alternatives to the entitlement. The President also is critical about Romney’s tax proposals and referred to them as “trickle-down fairy dust” that has not succeeded to help the economy grow in the past and will not be effective in the present.
Ryan and his mother, Betty Ryan Douglass, took the stage in The Villages as Romney was in Massachusetts attending a series of fund raisers. With Paul Ryan doing most of the talking, the Wisconsin congressman described how he saw the benefits of Medicare firsthand. When he was a child, his grandmother had Alzheimer’s and moved in with his family. “My mom and I were her two primary caregivers,” Ryan said before shifting to his mother and the promise of Medicare for her. Ryan added that, “she planned her retirement around this promise. That’s a promise we have to keep. It’s not just a program, it’s what my mom relies on.”
He then accused Obama of cutting billions from the program that would go to expanded coverage under his health care law, which would end up undermining Medicare. Ryan then asserted that: “We want this debate. We need this debate. And we are going to win this debate.” Ironically, both Democrats and Republicans want to make changes to a program that older Americans, people who are 65 and older, as well as those with disabilities, have basically resisted change to. However, the Romney-Ryan ticket is hoping that voters’ concerns over the deficit and the Democrats overhaul of health care will open the door to debating what will happen to Medicare; one of the government’s most costliest and popular programs.
The stopover in Florida for Ryan is not an unusual one for a candidate to make. Florida has the highest concentration in the country of voters over the age of 65. Roughly 17 percent of residents in Florida fall into this group. Betty Ryan Douglass, who is 78, spends some significant time during the year in Broward County’s Lauderdale-by-the-Sea community. Since 1997, she has been registered to vote in Florida.
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