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Mitt Romney: Magic Man

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 “I won't put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That's part one. So there's no economist can say Mitt Romney's tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.”

Nobody can say it if Mitt Romney says they can’t! He dismisses pesky economic experts with a wave of his magic wand.

Just as he’d heal the budget, Romney would patch up the nation’s health care system -- with pixie dust.

First, he says he’d repeal Obamacare on day one. Second, he told debate listeners:

“What I support is no change for current retirees or near-retirees to Medicare.”

Logically, or mathematically, or realistically, that won’t work. As of August, 5.4 million seniors had saved $4.1 billion on prescription drugs, about $768 each, because Obamacare closes the Medicare prescription plan donut hole. And, under Obamacare, this year more than 18 million Medicare recipients received at least one preventive service for free. Killing Obamacare would mean seniors would have to pay those costs once again from their own limited funds. This would be a costly change to Medicare for current retirees and near-retirees.

Also, Obamacare extended the life of Medicare by eight years. It did so by reducing payments to medical facilities by $716 billion over a decade , reductions accepted by the providers when the law was negotiated. Romney says he will eliminate the savings to Medicare and give those payments to the medical facilities. That, logically, would snuff out the life of Medicare eight years earlier, which would be a tragic change to Medicare for current retirees and near-retirees.

But, you know, presto-chango, Romney says it ain’t so.

Many aspects of Obamacare are beloved by those who have benefitted, including extending coverage for young adults on their parents’ plans, eliminating coverage caps and instituting rebates when insurers charge too much. But perhaps the most important Obamacare protection was the specification that insurers can’t deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
Repealing Obamacare would eliminate that benefit. Romney’s response at the debate:
 

“In fact, I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions.”

Romney’s plan could exclude millions, however, since it guarantees insurance only if the person with a pre-existing condition has maintained coverage without a lapse longer than three months.

But, no worries. In Romney’s magical world, if we all just clap loudly enough, Tinker Bell won’t die!

Like any good magician, Romney keeps the details of his plans for America hidden up his sleeve. Taking a cue from that Muhammad Ali rhyme, he believes:

Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see.

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Leo W. Gerard also is a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Committee and chairs the labor federation’s Public Policy Committee. President Barack Obama appointed him to the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. He serves as co-chairman of the BlueGreen Alliance and on the boards of Campaign for America’s Future and the Economic Policy Institute.  He is a member of the IMF and ICEM global labor federations and was instrumental in creating Workers Uniting, the first global union. Follow @USWBlogger