Breaking down the Medicare debate
Medicare reform is a hot topic this November.Photo: Video by fox4now.com
LEE COUNTY, Fla - The future of Medicare getting a lot of attention in the November campaigns.
And with good reason, seniors make up the largest voting block in Southwest Florida.
At nearly 40% -- it's one that could make or break the candidates.
The morning after the primaries and Republican Senate candidate Connie Mack's satellite interviews today centering on medicare.
"You know what seniors are telling me around the state, they're saying fix the problems. They know if we continue down the path we're on, medicare will go bankrupt," says Mack from Miami.
And he's quick to point fingers.
"The only 2 people that have gutted medicare are President Obama and Senator Nelson. They cut $700 billion out of medicare for current recipients," he adds.
But democratic candidate for congress Jim Roach -- who's run against Connie Mack before and is now running against Trey Radel says that's false.
"It's actually $500 billion, the number they predicted that they would cut out of medicare, out of waste and out of payments to insurance companies," says Roach.
Roach also says the Affordable Healthcare Act that republicans have called up for repeal saves medicare.
And should know, he carries the law's thousand pages around everywhere.
"The law specifically says medicare benefits cannot be reduced. And the Congressional Budget Office says you're giving more benefits and spending less money," adds Roach.
Other ideas for keeping medicare solvent include a voucher program proposed by republican VP pick Paul Ryan, and supported by Radel.
"The cuts to medicare are to save medicare. Those who've worked all their lives are going to get medicare," said Radel last night.
But Radel's opponent says the voucher program doesn't do enough to protect seniors.
"If you do some type of voucher program, it doesn't get at the rising cost of medical treatment like the affordable care act does," says Roach.
Democratic Senator Bill Nelson got back to us late in the day, saying Ryan's plan would end medicare as we know it.
And Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has since tried to quiet the controversy.
Read the Affordable Healthcare Act, its facts and myths