Love him or hate him, there's one thing I think everyone can agree on when it comes to former President Bill Clinton and that is the fact that the man knows how to give a speech and his long, but extremely informative speech tonight at the 2012 Democratic National Convention was no exception. I think Bill Clinton just gave the best explanation I've seen from anyone yet, taking apart all of the lies we've been hearing from Republicans about "Obamacare."
Clinton veered wildly off script this Wednesday evening and some of that was during the portion of his speech embedded above, where he said this: Bill Clinton Takes On Paul Ryan’s Medicare Lies: ‘It Takes Some Brass’:
Bill Clinton singlehandedly dismantled the Romney-Ryan campaign narrative that President Obama is trying to put an end to Medicare at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night, pointing out that it is in fact the Romney-Ryan proposal for Medicare that would permanently change the program to a depreciating voucher system. “It takes some brass,” Clinton said, “to attack a guy for doing what you did”:
First, Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing medicare of $716 billion. But it is not true.[...]
So, President Obama and the Democrats did not weaken Medicare. They strengthened Medicare. When Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s Medicare savings as “the biggest, coldest power play,” I did not know whether to laugh or cry. Key cuts that $716 billion is exactly to the dollar the same amount of medicare savings that he had in his own budget. It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.
That's gonna' leave a mark. I can't wait to see Reince and his "rapid response team" try to spin themselves into knots rebutting the Clinton tonight.
Clinton's full prepared remarks from the clip above below the fold.
That brings me to health care.
The Republicans call it Obamacare and say it's a government takeover of health care that they'll repeal. Are they right? Let's look at what's happened so far. Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80% to 85% of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion. Other insurance companies have lowered their rates to meet the requirement. More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies. Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems. Soon the insurance companies, not the government, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions. And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4%, for the first time in 50 years.
So are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are.
There were two other attacks on the President in Tampa that deserve an answer. Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars. Here's what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren't making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. It's now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn't weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.
When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama's "biggest coldest power play" in raiding Medicare, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget.
At least on this one, Governor Romney's been consistent. He wants to repeal the savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he's elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016. If that happens, you won't have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.
But it gets worse. They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade. Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that's not all. Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Downs syndrome or Autism. I don't know how those families are going to deal with it. We can't let it happen.