August 18, 2012 - 11:46 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The jobs-and-economy election suddenly seems all about Medicare — for now, at least.
Republican Mitt Romney is embracing a topic his party usually approaches gingerly. He is taking a calculated risk that voters' worries about federal deficits and the Democrats' health care overhaul have opened the door for a robust debate on the solvency of Medicare, the insurance program for retirees.
President Barack Obama is welcoming the conversation, which has temporarily taken attention from the weak economic recovery.
One party may regret its position on Nov. 6.
Retirees in politically prized states such as Florida have often resisted changes in Medicare, one of the government's most popular but costliest programs. But GOP strategists say today's voters realize Medicare spending must be constrained, and Romney is banking on disenchantment with Obama's 2010 health care law to pave the way for his own proposals.
Romney, who has spent more than a year running almost entirely on the economy and jobs, put Medicare at the campaign's center when he chose as his running mate. Rep. Paul Ryan is Congress' chief advocate of significantly restraining entitlement programs.
Ryan was critical of Obama's handling of Medicare during a campaign stop in Springfield, Va., repeating his assertion that the GOP ticket welcomed the debate over the future of Medicare. The Wisconsin congressman is expected to revisit Medicare in some depth in Florida on Saturday, August 18. He will face voters in a retirement community north of Orlando known as The Villages. Ryan's 78-year-old mother, a Medicare recipient, plans to attend, AP reported.