AARP CEO Barry Rand used his opening remarks to defend President Obama’s health-care bill, including its accounting trick of taking $716 billion from Medicare to make a new entitlement appear to save money. He then turned the event over to President Obama, who via satellite attacked Mitt Romney and Mr. Ryan for wanting to deny medical care to seniors.
Mr. Ryan showed up anyway and didn’t soften his message that Medicare is on a path to bankruptcy if it isn’t reformed. His truths—including his initial point that seniors would benefit from the repeal of ObamaCare—didn’t go over well with the crowd’s Obama partisans, who tipped their political bent by booing and shouting “47%.”
Largely unreported, however, was the applause Mr. Ryan received. That came in response to his criticism of ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, the 15 “unaccountable bureaucrats” empowered under the Affordable Care Act to make cuts to Medicare that Mr. Ryan rightly said will “jeopardize access to care.” The payment board is largely shielded from Congressional review precisely so it can ration care with little democratic oversight. This is how Mr. Obama will rein in Medicare costs—whether seniors like it or not.
The Wisconsin Congressman was also cheered for his promise that his Medicare premium-support reform would “force insurance companies to compete against each other to better serve seniors, with more help for the poor and the sick—and less help for the wealthy.”