Romney also said he would turn responsibility for Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor, over to state governments, and cut about $100 billion in Medicaid spending. He also would cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product by the end of his first term. To do so, he would cut about $500 billion in annual spending and lower non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels.
“The plan I propose to make government simpler, smaller and smarter represents the biggest fundamental change to the federal government in modern history. It’s a change we’ll have to make if the words full faith and credit of the United States are to mean anything at all,” Romney said in an address before more than 1,000 tea party activists in Washington at Americans For Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream” convention.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has yet to fill in key details for his plan to overhaul entitlement programs, but the broad framework is similar to the blueprint of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Both programs allow seniors to use a voucher for private insurance, and they do not effect seniors at or near retirement. But unlike Ryan’s plan, Romney’s would give seniors the option of remaining in the traditional Medicare program. Romney said his plan would not effect seniors at or near retirement.
“The future of Medicare should be marked by competition, choice and by innovation — rather than bureaucracy, stagnation and bankruptcy,” Romney said, adding: “Tomorrow’s seniors should have the freedom to choose what their health coverage looks like.”
In a conference call Friday morning with reporters, Romney’s advisers sought to present Romney’s plan as “aggressive.” One top adviser called it “a bold vision, but it’s also a thoughtful and achievable vision.”
Romney’s proposal calls for cutting programs that cost the government money and that he believes are not necessary. He said he would start with repealing President Obama’s health-care overhaul, a pledge that was received with hearty applause. “Obamacare is bad law, bad policy, and when I’m president, the bad news of Obamacare will be over,” he said.
Romney also said he would reevaluate hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid commitments. “I will stop sending money to any country that can take care of itself, and no foreign aid will go to countries that oppose American interests,” Romney said. But he made clear he would reverse Obama’s cuts to the defense budget and spend more money on enhancing the Navy and Air Force.