In his speech at the Republican National Convention tonight, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) swiped at President Obama for his cuts to Medicare spending.
"An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for," the vice presidential candidate told the crowd in Tampa. "The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it."
There's one fact you should keep in the back of your head when listening to Ryan or Obama talk about Medicare spending. And it's a pretty simple one: Each politician has proposed spending the exact same amount on the entitlement program.
The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel put that in chart form earlier today. He mapped what percent of the economy Obama and Ryan want to see go towards the Medicare program. Here, take a look:
There are certainly places where Obama and Ryan differ on health policy. As Suzy has written, they have vastly different plans for Medicaid spending. On Medicare, however, there's not much of a spending contrast to draw.
Obama and Ryan propose spending the exact same amount on Medicare, but would get there in different ways. Obama would do so through a series of cuts to reimbursement rates for hospitals and doctors. The Republican party and Ryan budget wants to change the structure of the program, from one with a defined set of benefits to one where each senior gets a set amount of money to purchase health care.
There's plenty of space to debate which approach is best. There's just not much room for barbs over how much each politician will spend to get there.