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Report on Privatized Medicare Cost Becomes Campaign Fodder

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WASHINGTON (AP) – A study out today on how much a privatized Medicare system might cost recipients has already become fodder for the presidential campaigns.

The study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 59 percent of Medicare recipients would pay higher premiums under a hypothetical privatized system, and that it would bring big hikes in some states.

The report carries a disclaimer saying it’s not an analysis of the proposal by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan. But President Barack Obama’s campaign pounced on the findings and posted a link to the study on its website.

An Obama spokesman claimed that “millions of people” would have to give up their doctors or pay extra to maintain their choices under Romney’s plan.

The Romney camp says not so. A spokeswoman says Romney’s plan would guarantee future beneficiaries coverage options with no increase in out-of-pocket costs.

The Kaiser study assumes the privatization plan is already implemented, and that all Medicare recipients are in the new system. It also didn’t model the effects of additional financial help that Romney has promised for certain seniors.

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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

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