The Romney campaign confirmed today that their VP choice, Congressman Paul Ryan will be headed to Florida for events this Saturday and Sunday. Rep. Ryan will likely meet some cloudy dispositions when he arrives in the sunshine state, mainly because of his stance on Medicare. The Ryan budget proposes transitioning Medicare to a premium support system, that provides vouchers to seniors to use toward buying their own health care. The problem, critics of this plan argue, is those vouchers may not be enough to cover the rising cost of health care, and leave people to pay more out of pocket (as much as $6,400 for the average person, according to a Congressional Budget Office review of Ryan’s 2011 budget).
The spending reductions for Medicare in Ryan’s blueprint are supposedly geared toward debt and deficit reduction, but polls show strong public opposition to that. A survey by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation found 79% of registered voters oppose cutting Medicare benefits in order to pay down the debt.
Florida could be an especially tough sell for Congressman Ryan. Nearly 3.4 million Floridians, roughly 18% of the entire state population, currently receive Medicare benefits. Of the total Medicare recipients in America, 7% reside in Florida, and California is the only state that spends more on Medicare for its seniors than Florida. This all translates to a whole lot of people who may not be happy hearing about a hike in Medicare costs, whether it affects them directly or not.
A CNN-ORC poll taken before the selection of Congressman Ryan showed Governor Romney had a big lead among seniors. While President Obama had a 7% lead overall, voters over the age of 65 broke for Romney by a margin of 19%. Now that Governor Romney is tied to the Ryan budget and its proposal for Medicare reform, will he be able to hold that edge?