The Ticket

Paul Ryan to Obama on Medicare debate: Bring it on

Chris Moody
The Ticket

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Paul Ryan in Oxford, Ohio. (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

OXFORD, Ohio -- Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan weighed into the ongoing debate over Medicare at a public rally here Wednesday, inviting a public argument about the future of the program.

"The president, I'm told, is talking about Medicare today," Ryan told supporters at Miami University, where he graduated from college. "We want this debate. We need this debate. And we will win this debate."

That "debate" so far has been a messy one, keeping independent fact checkers busy ever since Ryan proposed a plan in 2010 to restructure Medicare into a system that provides subsidies to seniors to buy health care on the private market.

Democrats have seized on Mitt Romney's decision to choose Ryan as a running mate, arguing that the budget plan he proposed as House Budget Committee chairman would "end Medicare as we know it," a claim that a fact checking group rated the "Lie of the Year" in 2011. Meanwhile, Ryan repeated on Wednesday an attack that Romney has used regularly on the stump: that Obama "raided" more than $700 billion from Medicare to pay for the 2010 federal health care law. That claim was rated "mostly false" by the same fact checking group, which pointed out that the health care law slows the projected growth of spending in the Medicare program in part by slimming the Medicare Advantage program and paying hospitals less for not meeting federal standards.

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In his speech at the Miami University, Ryan also knocked Obama by using a toned-down version of a line Romney used earlier, accusing Obama of running a campaign of "hate."

"President Obama is out of ideas," Ryan said, "and that is why his campaign is based on anger and division."

Correction, 9:45 p.m. EDT: An earlier version of this post referred to Miami University as University of Miami.

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