Monday, September 10, 2012

Health Care Influences the Masses in Florida

A recent article released by the Associated Press suggests that health care is no longer just your grandmother’s platform of choice.

Mitt Romney's Aug. 12 Vice Presidential nomination of House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R- Wis.) drew national attention to Ryan's authored budget proposal titled, “The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America’s Promise.”

“The Path to Prosperity” largely favors health care vouchers, and would increase the current age eligibility for Medicare, but would not affect seniors currently age 55 and over. Often dubbed “The Ryan Budget,” the proposal was initially approved by the House in April 2011 with overwhelming GOP support, yet was completely shut out by House Democrats in the final vote. In May 2011, the budget was voted down by the Democrat-dominated Senate. Multiple Democrats have chided “The Path to Prosperity,” repeatedly asserting that it will "end Medicare as we know it."

Republicans have spoken out just as aggressively against the Obama Administration’s 2010 “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Also known as "Obamacare," the bill aims to secure rights for uninsured Americans, including many of those with pre-existing conditions who have been victims of past health care price hikes. Many Democrats hail the bill as revolutionary, while Republicans continue to adamantly rebuke the redirection of “about $700 billion in future Medicare spending” used to fund it.

Florida, a key swing state in this year's Presidential election, is home to scores of retirees, many of whom have particularly strong opinions about this year's candidates and their prospective plans for Medicare and Medicaid.

Despite opposing health care philosophies, both the Romney and Obama camps understand that they need to do more than just attract retirees to clench the coveted ‘Sunshine State’-- they need to appeal to younger voters, too.

A series of interviews conducted by the AP found that Floridians of all age groups distrust both camp’s projected plans for regenerating the health care system. Whether a retiree or a college graduate, it appears that most have little hope that either plan will garner effective, lasting results.

"I just assume Medicare won't be there for me at all," said Christine Pallesen, a 26-year old business consultant in Florida.

This dismal perspective is becoming much more prominent throughout the United States. With the first wave of baby boomers having turned 65 in January 2011, retirees are becoming more concerned about their long term care prospects.

Election 2012 carries extremely high stakes for all age groups in America. In order to clench Florida's 29 Electoral College votes, Romney or Obama need to address both age groups' concerns, and explain how his plan would be more successful in assuaging their pertinent fears.

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