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Medicare row escalates with Romney's VP pick

By Jiang Xufeng (Xinhua)

08:54, August 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. political fight over Medicare, the federal healthcare program for older Americans and some disabled people, was escalating after Mitt Romney's selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee. But the nation's inefficient Medicare system cannot be saved by "Mediscare " demagogue, experts say.

Ryan's entrance energized the Republican base but also brought the Medicare issue into the limelight, as the lawmaker's latest budget plan included reform of the popular healthcare program. Given the role as the architect of the House-approved budget plan for the 2013 fiscal year starting in October 2012, Ryan has been attacked by Democrats as he would end Medicare "as we know it."

Seniors would get a voucher to buy private insurance under Ryan 's plan, and because the voucher wouldn't keep up with healthcare costs, the plan would force seniors to pay an extra 6,400 U.S. dollars a year for healthcare spending, U.S. President Barack Obama charged on Aug. 15 during a campaign event in the U.S. state of Iowa. Democrats were not totally right about him.

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Ryan's latest budget plan would allow current seniors to keep their current Medicare coverage unchanged, but it would alter the arrangement for those turning 65 after 2022, offering "a list of guaranteed coverage options, including a traditional Medicare fee- for-service plan" to ensure a "strengthened Medicare program for future generations".

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