Sarah Kliff has a very provocative article over at WonkBlog called Romney’s Health Care Plans Don’t Exempt Today’s Seniors. As usual for the WonkBlog staff, she bends over backwards to be fair. (Fun Fact: before working for Ezra Klein, all staff must have worked for at least a year as a circus contortionist.) But the article is damning to Romney’s campaign.
The substance of the piece is not terribly new. Much of it I knew. The ACA gets rid of the Medicare prescription “doughnut hole” and Romney plans to savage Medicaid, which would hurt low income seniors and those needing long term care.
In the name of fairness, Kliff notes that some seniors will see their costs go up. The main increase would be on seniors making more than $85,000 per year—they would see their premiums increase. This represents 5% of seniors. She sums up, “Overall, though, analysts say that out-of-pocket spending by seniors would increase if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.”
The one thing not mentioned in the article is how long there would be widespread support for a program that only benefits those currently over the age of 55. I think the program would slowly and then quickly be looted. This is especially true when you consider that as this population ages, the per capita costs would skyrocket.
All of this bad news about the Romney plan could normally be blown off. But Romney’s main attack on Obama has been that the ACA is going to harm current seniors. The facts say otherwise. The majority of seniors will see no change or improvements. Those upper class seniors who will see their premiums rise can handle it. Anyway, they won’t be voting for Obama.