I’m confused about health care. And I was hoping to get some straight answers in last night’s presidential debate. But, even though Mitt Romney was the decided winner according to post-debate polls, he still didn’t give us a clear idea of how he was going to fix our very broken $2.8 trillion healthcare system.
Healthcare is a top concern for voters come November 6, but you wouldn’t know that based on last night’s debate. This was the opportunity for both candidates to clearly and succinctly state their position and their policies. And while Obama may have been able to get away with generalizing his more (simply because most of us already know the details of Obamacare), Romney should have given us better answers on Medicare, Medicaid and healthcare in general. After all, our healthcare system has been blamed for low wages in our country, decreased security for seniors and a major contributor to our country’s deficit.
But instead, he chose to attack Obama by repeatedly saying the president would cut $716 billion from the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled (the savings based on increases in payments to Medicare’s healthcare providers–and the same ones that Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, had originally included in his budget proposal).
What I support is no change for current retirees and near retirees in Medicare, and the president supports taking $716 billion out of that program.
Romney also refused to directly answer anything about his proposed voucher system–something that is also very confusing. How exactly are we going to convert Medicare from a guaranteed system to a voucher payment-like system? That just leaves so many unanswered questions. And even after moderator Jim Lehrer (who clearly needs to go back to Moderating 101) asked him about this, Romney still skirted the issue.
Then…after he touted Romneycare (which is only more confusing because that’s not something he plans to continue nationwide), Romney finally scored some points on healthcare–and in the debate overall–when he suggested that both parties need to work together:
I like the way we did it in Massachusetts. I like the fact that in my state, we had Republicans and Democrats come together and work together. What you did instead was to push through a plan without a single Republican vote.
Still. Neither candidate seized the opportunity to win over voters with their stance on healthcare. Like, all we want to know is: How is this going to affect us? How much will this cost or save us? And what kind of health care can we expect?
But, like I said, the debate just left me even more confused.
And Dr. Arthur Kellermann, a health policy expert at the Rand Corporation told Reuters that he agrees:
I would be hard-pressed to think that anyone watching would come away with a clear sense, either of what each candidate would do, or what the implications of those policies would be.
Tell us…what did you think of the debate? Are you confused too?