Updated 10/08/2012 07:33 PM
Presidential candidates focusing on health care plans
A major focus of the Presidential campaign is health care. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney vows to repeal the federal health care law, while the president promises that his plan will, in the long run, change the nation's health care system for the better. Our Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Erin Billups takes a closer look at both candidates' plans.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – "For current retirees, he’s cutting $716 billion from the program," said Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. "I wanna take that $716 billion you've cut and put it back into Medicare."
It's a number GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney repeats often and has many older Americans concerned about their health care coverage. The President's controversial health care law, once derogatively referred to as "Obamacare," does cut $716 billion from Medicare over several years.
Obama said, "We were able to save from the Medicare program by no longer overpaying insurance companies."
University of Maryland Public Policy Health Professor Robert Sprinkle says Obamacare will bring down the cost of health care a little bit, not cutting, but slowing down how fast Medicare spending grows year to year.
Sprinkle said, "[It] will not change Medicare in drastic ways and in some ways, won't change it at all."
Sprinkle says because of the massive bargaining that happened before the law was even written, it does little to fix the system's fundamental problem: That the price of goods and services are simply too high.
"There’s too much money, not too little,” said Sprinkle. “Money in excess is toxic."
Romney's alternative to Obamacare would give seniors a voucher they would use in the private sector or through Medicare.
Romney said, "I’d just as soon not have the government telling me what kind of health care I get. I’d rather be able to have an insurance company. If I don't like them, I can get rid of them and find a different insurance company."
Sprinkle said, "That would be more disruptive. It's not clear that it would be worthwhile. The private insurance market has had many opportunities to demonstrate its superior efficiency and has perennially failed."
Sprinkle says what is surprisingly strange about the President's approach in defending Obamacare is that he hardly recognizes that it is the rule of law, reinforcing public perception that it's not doing what it was intended to.
"In their view, it hasn't changed much if at all and in they're still having the same complaints," Sprinkle said.