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The former president’s Democratic convention speech is widely praised but tucked inside was a less-discussed charge against Republicans that could be his party’s killer app: GOP Medicaid cuts that would devastate nursing-home care.
“They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade. Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that’s not all. Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Down syndrome or autism. I don’t know how those families are going to deal with it. We can’t let it happen.” – Bill Clinton, Democratic National Convention (9/5)
That passage was Clinton’s best advice to Democrats last night. But strangely the Obama White House has been slow to trot on this one. The cuts Clinton talks about are right there in Republican running mate Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which passed in the House and won Mitt Romney’s eager endorsement.
Instead, the Obama team has dwelled on the Medicare debate with the Romney camp. But, as Clinton suggests, there is huge political gain in spotlighting the Romney/Ryan nursing home cuts targeting senior voters in battleground states. Indeed, these cuts are more drastic and start sooner than the Medicare cuts.
There was a time I thought that embracing Ryan’s budget bill was the dumbest thing Romney did all year. But then he topped himself and actually put Ryan on his ticket. Now, the GOP nominee is shackled to proposals that would privatize Medicare and dramatically restrict access to nursing homes.
There are just 60 days left in the campaign but that’s plenty of time for Obama, Joe Biden, their campaign team and friendly Super Pacs to make sure this message gets out. Or, just let Bill Clinton do it.
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