Mittwoch, 12. September 2012

Introducing U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens

Obama telefoniert eine Stunde mit Netanjahu

Obama telefoniert eine Stunde mit Netanjahu

President Obama Speaks at a Pentagon Memorial Service in Remembrance of 9 11 YouTube

President Obama Speaks at a Pentagon Memorial Service in Remembrance of 9 11 YouTube

President Obama Speaks at a Pentagon Memorial Service in Remembrance of 9 11 YouTube - Obama: Wir kämpfen nicht gegen den Islam - 11.-September-Gedenken - Obama: Wir kämpfen nicht gegen den Islam - 11.-September-Gedenken

Photo and the speech from US-President Barack Obama at the "Pentagon Memorial Service in Remembrance of 9/11

Photo and the speech fromUS-President Barack Obama at the "Pentagon Memorial Service in Remembranceof 9/11 
US-President Barack Obama at the "Pentagon Memorial Service in Remembrance of 9/11"

"Al Qaeda's leadership has been devastated and Osama bin Laden will never threaten us again. Our country is safer and our people are resilient."

US-President Barack Obama at the "Pentagon Memorial Service in Remembrance of 9/11"

Find the text with the speech from US-President Barack Obama at Pentagon Memorial Service in Remembrance of 9/11" here:


Montag, 10. September 2012

U.S. Election School Project 2012 - YouTube

Welcome to the final stretch of this election. Get President Obama's back.

Friend --

Huge news:

We finally closed the gap. We outraised Mitt Romney and the Republicans $114 million to $111 million in August.

Unbelievable. After three straight months of getting beat -- and not by a small margin -- more than 1,170,000 supporters made a donation to close the gap.

We can't let up for one second. These August numbers don't reflect outside group fundraising or spending -- and in that category we're still getting thrashed.

Right before the conventions, we were being outspent by super PACs alone in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin. That margin was more than 2 to 1 in Florida, Iowa, and North Carolina.

Already, more than 3 million grassroots donors have stepped up to make sure they can't drown us out. According to our records, you weren't among them. Are you going to let this campaign go by without joining in?

We recently learned Karl Rove is rounding up the most powerful Republican donors to give all they've got to beat Barack Obama.

And it's clear the Romney campaign has been building up a cash advantage that would allow them to blanket the airwaves with negative ads even if we did close the gap. Last week a Romney-Ryan official compared their latest ad campaign to the "daisy cutter" bombs used in the Iraq War. Another adviser to the campaign said their goal from now to Election Day is to "carpet bomb" President Obama and Vice President Biden.

After all our hard work over the past 17 months, I'll be damned if the Romney campaign, Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and a handful of anonymous billionaires "carpet bomb" the President and end up deciding this election for millions of Americans in the last 57 days.

We just proved we can go head to head with Romney and the Republicans and win. That can't stop now.

This will be a tight race to the end. Donate $5 or more today:

Together we're proving that ordinary Americans -- not special interests or super PACs -- will decide this election. I'm proud to be a part of this campaign, and even more determined to make sure our hard work translates into a win for President Obama in November. I hope you feel the same way.

Thanks for all you're doing.


Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Remarks by President Barack Obama at a Campaign Event -- Melbourne, Florida | The White House

Charles and Ruth Clemente Center
Florida Institute of Technology
Melbourne, Florida

11:55 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  How's it going, Florida?  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Well, look, I am so thrilled to be here!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Florida.  And I am so grateful to Mary, not only for her introduction, but for sharing her story, for fighting on behalf of America, for reminding that the values we care about aren't Democratic or Republican values, but are American values.  So give Mary a big round of applause.  (Applause.) 

Now, before I start I have a very important announcement that I've got to make --

Q    I love you, President Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you, too.  (Applause.) 
Actually, there are three things I've got to say before I get started.  First of all, if you've got a seat feel free to take a seat, because I'm going to talk for a while.  (Applause.) Point number two, if you don't have a seat, bend your knees because sometimes people faint a little bit -- all right -- and you've been standing here a while. 

The third thing I want to say, the most important thing I have to say is football starts today.  (Applause.)  So we intend to be finished to get home in time for kickoff.  (Applause.)  I don't know -- I know you've got a lot of teams here in Florida, but in Illinois there's just one team -- the Chicago Bears. 

AUDIENCE:  Booo -- (laughter.}

THE PRESIDENT:  All right, well, let me move on to another topic then.  (Laughter.) 
It is so great to be here.  We just had our convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Applause.)  Folks there could not have been more welcoming.  Michelle was -- Michelle.  (Applause.) She was amazing.  So for the young men out there who are thinking about their futures -- the goal is to marry up and improve your gene pool.  (Laughter.)  And that's what I have done by marrying Michelle. 

Then you have President Clinton who made the case the only way that he can.  (Applause.)  Somebody sent out a tweet after he spoke -- he said, somebody needs to make him secretary of explaining stuff -- (laughter) -- which I like.  I liked that.

And then on Thursday night, I spoke about the stakes in this election.  Now, you've now heard both sides make their argument, and I hope you know at this point there's a big choice to make.  And it is the clearest choice of any time in a generation.  (Applause.)  It is not just a choice between two candidates; it's not just a choice between two parties.  It is a choice between two fundamentally different paths for America, two very different visions for our future.

And our fight is for that basic bargain that built the middle class in this country and the strongest economy the world has ever known.  And it was basically a simple idea -- the idea that here in America hard work will pay off.  (Applause.)  That here in America, responsibility will be rewarded, that everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share, and everybody plays by the same rules -- (applause) -- from Wall Street to Main Street to Washington, D.C.  (Applause.) 

And that basic bargain is why I ran for President, because I saw too many jobs disappearing overseas, too many families struggling with the costs that keep on going up even though paychecks aren't going up,; too many people racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage, or pay tuition, or put gas in the car, or food on the table.  And when this house of cards collapsed in this Great Recession we saw millions of innocent Americans lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose their savings. And we're still trying to recover from that tragedy.

Now, our friends at the Republican Convention, they were more than happy to talk about everything that they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how to make it right.  (Applause.)  They want your vote, but they don’t have a plan.  Or at least they don't want to tell you their plan.

And that’s because they’ve got the same plan they've had for 30 years:  Tax cuts, tax cuts, gut a few regulations, and then give some more tax cuts.  Tax cuts when times are good.  Tax cuts when times are bad.  Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds -- (laughter) -- tax cuts to improve your love life.  (Laughter.)

I said that at the last event yesterday and somebody yelled out, I tried it and it didn’t work.  (Laughter.)  

Now, listen, I've given tax cuts to folks who need it.  (Applause.)  Four years ago I promised I would cut taxes for middle-class families --

AUDIENCE:  And you did!

THE PRESIDENT:  And I did.  The typical family is paying $3,600 less in federal taxes since I've been President.  We've cut taxes for small businesses 18 times.  But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires are going to bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down the deficit -- just like I don’t think that firing teachers or kicking students off of financial aid is going to help our economy.  (Applause.)  That's not going to help us compete with China and other countries that are coming up.  

After all we've been through, I sure don't believe rolling back regulations we put in place to make sure Wall Street doesn’t act recklessly, that rolling those regulations back somehow will help small business women here in Florida, or laid-off construction workers get back to work. 

Let me tell you, Florida, what they are selling we are not buying.  (Applause.)  We've been there, we've tried it.  It's not working.  We're not going back.  We’re moving forward.  That's why I'm running for a second term for President of the United
States.  (Applause.)

Now, I will not pretend that the path I’m offering is quick or easy.  It's going to take more than a few years to deal with problems that have been building up for decades.  But let me tell you something -- when our opponent goes around saying that the nation is in decline, he doesn’t know what he's talking about.  (Applause.)  This is America.  We've got the best workers in the world, the best entrepreneurs in the world.  We’ve got the best scientists and researchers in the world.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the best colleges and universities in the world.  (Applause.) 

We are a young nation.  We've got the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity.  People want to come here from every corner of the globe.  (Applause.)  So no matter what the naysayers tell us, no matter how dark they try to make things look for election time, there’s not another country on Earth that wouldn’t trade places with the United States.  (Applause.) 

So I promise you our problems can be solved, and our challenges can be met.  The path we offer may be harder, but it will lead to a better place.  And I’m asking you to choose that future.  I'm asking you to rally around some goals -- concrete, achievable goals in manufacturing and energy, and education, in reducing our deficit that will lead to new jobs and more opportunity, and it will rebuild our economy on a stronger foundation. 

That’s what the next four years are about.  That’s why I’m running for President.  (Applause.)  That's why I need your support.  (Applause.)

Now, just in case some of you missed me on Thursday, I want to lay out once again what I'm talking about with this plan.   First, I’ve got a plan to export more products and send fewer jobs overseas.  (Applause.)  After a decade of decline, this country has actually created more than half a million new manufacturing jobs over the last two and a half years.  (Applause.)  We reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.  (Applause.) 

Here on the Space Coast, we started a new era of American exploration that is creating good jobs right here in this county. (Applause.)  We've begun an ambitious new direction for NASA by laying the groundwork for 21st century space flight and innovation.  And just last month, we witnessed an incredible achievement that speaks to the nation's sense of wonder and our can-do spirit -- the United States of America landing Curiosity on Mars.  (Applause.)

So this is an example of what we do when we combine our science, our research, our ability to commercialize new products, making them here in America. 

So this is where we've got a choice.  We could, as the House Republican budget proposes, cut back on research and technology.


THE PRESIDENT:  Or we can continue to be at the cutting-edge -- because that's what we've always been about.  We can spark new discoveries, launch new careers, inspire the next generation to reach for something better.  You've got that choice.  We can make sure that not only are we investing in great research, but the products that come out of that research are made here in the United States.  (Applause.)

We can change our tax code so we stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.  Let's reward them for investing in new plants and equipment here in the U.S., and training new workers here in the U.S., and keeping the research and development here in the U.S., and creating jobs right here in the U.S., making products that we sell around the world stamped with three proud words:  Made in the USA.  That's what we're fighting for.  That's the future we want.  (Applause.)



AUDIENCE:  U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

THE PRESIDENT:  We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports.  And that creates jobs.  And we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.  And by the way, here in Florida, you are a gateway for this huge Latin American market that's growing.  (Applause.)  Which is why, during the Recovery Act, we helped local communities revamp their ports and their roads, so that we can move more products onto those container ships that are sending goods down to Brazil and Mexico and other parts -- Argentina, and all across our hemisphere.

And that's also why, by the way, we're attracting more tourists from this region.  We made it easier for folks to come visit Florida -- (applause) -- because that creates jobs right here in Florida.  So this is all part of the notion that we don't want to just borrow and spend -- we also want to make stuff and sell.  (Applause.)  That's part one of the plan.  

Part two:  I’ve got a plan to control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, your cars or trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)  That will save you money, and it will help the environment.  (Applause.)   

We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy.  Thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries and solar panels that are being used right here in Florida to generate energy.  (Applause.) 

I want you guys to know this.  Today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.  (Applause.) 

So now you've got a choice between a plan that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it.  Unlike my opponent, I’m not going to let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.  (Applause.) 

We’ve got a better path, where we keep investing in wind and solar, and clean coal technology, and farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and our trucks, and where we put construction workers back to work building factories that waste less energy, retrofitting schools and hospitals and buildings so that they're using less energy.  (Applause.)  Where we developed a hundred years’ supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  And if we choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020, and that alone will support 600,000 new jobs in natural gas.  (Applause.) 

We can move forward, but we can't go backwards.  (Applause.) That's what the next four years are about.  (Applause.)

Part three -- part three:  I’ve got a plan to give more Americans the chance to gain the skills they need to compete.  Education was the key to opportunity for me, for Michelle, for many of you.  And so we focused on this the minute I came into office.  And for the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning.  And some of the worst schools in the country have made real progress and real gains in math and reading.  (Applause.) 

Millions of students, including some students at this institution, are paying less today for college because we took on a system that was wasting billions of taxpayer dollars sending it to banks; we said let's send it directly to students.  (Applause.)  And students are paying less for their college education because of it.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You're our choice!

THE PRESIDENT:  That's a good choice.  (Applause.) 

We can gut our investment in education, as the budget being proposed by the other side would do.  Or we can decide in the United States of America, no child should have their dream deferred because of an overcrowded classroom or outdated textbooks.  No family should have to set aside an acceptance letter for college because they realize, you know what, honey, we just can't afford it.  No company should have to look for workers in some other country because they couldn’t find the workers with the right skills right here in the United States.  (Applause.)

So we've got to focus on this.  Help me recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers, and improve early childhood education, and give 2 million workers the chance to learn skills at their  local community college that will lead directly to a job.  (Applause.)  And help me work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next 10 years. (Applause.) 

We can meet that goal together.  We can help the next generation.  (Applause.)  We can choose that future for America. But I can only do it with you.  (Applause.)   

And you know what, let's make sure that we're reducing our deficit without sticking it to the middle class.  (Applause.)  Now, independent analysis says that my plan for reducing our deficits would lower them by $4 trillion.  That's with a "T" -- $4 trillion.  And I’ve worked with Republicans in Congress already to cut a trillion dollars in spending, and I’m willing to do more.  I want to work with them.

I want a tax code that's fair and simpler.  But I also want to ask folks like me and Mr. Romney, the wealthiest households in America, the top 2 percent, to just pay a little bit more -- higher taxes on incomes over the first $250,000 of their income to help reduce our deficit. (Applause.)  That's the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President, and we created 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history and a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)  We can do that.

And, by the way, I just want to be clear -- under my plan, first of all, 98 percent of folks who make less than $250,000, you wouldn’t see your income taxes go up a single dime.  (Applause.)  Because you're the ones who need relief.  And what happens when you've got a little more money in your pocket -- what happens?

AUDIENCE:  We spend it!

THE PRESIDENT:  You spend it.  Maybe you buy a new computer for your son or daughter.  Maybe you buy a new car after 20 years of driving that old beater around.  And what happens when you spend, then businesses have more customers, and then they make  more profit, and then they hire more workers, who then, in turn, go buy more products.  That's how we grow an economy -- not from the top down; from the middle out, from the bottom up.  (Applause.)  That's the choice in this election.  (Applause.)
But what we heard in Tampa -- well, they didn’t really say much about it, but what you see on their website, what you've seen Republicans in Congress vote on is a different kind of plan. President Clinton pointed out that the single biggest thing missing from my opponent’s plan is arithmetic.  (Applause.)  Math.  Governor Romney and his allies tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillion more dollars on new tax breaks for the wealthy. 

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

THE PRESIDENT:  I mean, listen, you've got to do the math, because when my opponents were asked about it today, they couldn't.  (Laughter.)  It was like two plus one equals five.  (Laughter.)  They couldn't answer questions about how they'd pay for $5 trillion in new tax cuts and $2 trillion in new defense spending without raising taxes on the middle class.  That's not bold leadership -- that's bad math.  (Applause.)  That gets a failing grade.

I refuse to go along with that plan.  I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another tax cut for somebody like me or Mr. Romney.  (Applause.)  I refuse to ask students to pay more for college, or kick children out of Head Start programs just to give millionaires a tax break.  (Applause.)  I'm not going to eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor or elderly or disabled, all so those with the most can pay less.  (Applause.)  And I want you to know, Florida, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.

You know, I had a wonderful breakfast with two retired couples over at Cocoa -- Gerry and Jan and John and Shirley -- they're here somewhere.  There they are, they're over there.  And that was a good breakfast, too, wasn’t it?  It was outstanding.  And they were wise enough to move to Florida after they retired because they were living in very cold weather.  And they love it here.  But we were talking about how, after a lifetime of work, they've been able to save enough to have a comfortable retirement, but that's only because Medicare is there rock-solid for them; only because we have made that commitment that says if you work hard all your life then you should have some basic security -- not to live lavishly, but to know that it's going to be there for you.

And I have to tell you, that is going to be part of what's at stake in this election.  Now, I've already strengthened Medicare.  We've already added years to the life of Medicare by getting rid of taxpayer subsidies to insurance companies that weren’t making people any healthier, and in fact, were making things more expensive for everybody.  (Applause.) 

So we used part of those savings to help lower the cost of prescription drugs and offer free preventive care to seniors.  I thought that was a good idea.  (Applause.)  For some reason, my opponents think it's a bad idea.  So they want to give the money back to the insurance companies and then put them in charge of Medicare.


THE PRESIDENT:  In fact, one report just said that by the end of the next decade, our opponent's plan would mean as much as $16 billion to $26 billion in new profits for insurance companies.  So basically, your costs would rise by the thousands so that their profits could rise by the billions. 

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

THE PRESIDENT:  So here's the bottom line.  Their voucher plan for Medicare would bankrupt Medicare.  Our plan strengthens Medicare.  No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with the dignity and the respect and the care that they have earned.  (Applause.) 

Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul -- but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care, not by dumping those costs on to seniors.  We're not going to do that.  (Applause.)  

And while we’re at it, we’re going to keep the promise of Social Security by taking responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street.  And by the way, if you're wondering who is right on this argument about Medicare --

AUDIENCE:  You are!

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, but in case some of your friends are wondering -- let's put it that way.  (Laughter.)  I mean, keep in mind that the AARP, which knows a little bit about this, they took a look at our plan when we passed Obamacare, and they confirmed that it strengthens Medicare.  (Applause.)  And when you look at their plan, it's confirmed that over time a voucher system will weaken Medicare as we know it.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  That's why we need a new governor!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I'm talking about the federal election right now.  (Laughter.)
Now, rebuilding this economy is essential, but, as Mary said, our prosperity at home is also linked to our security and our policies abroad.  So I just want to remind everybody four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq -- I did.  (Applause.)  We said we'd wind down the war in Afghanistan -- and we are doing that.  (Applause.)  And a few days before 9/11, a new tower is rising above the New York skyline.  (Applause.)  We're coming back.  Meanwhile al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

So I just want you to remember when my opponent and his vice presidential nominee are running around saying somehow we're weakening our military -- let me tell you, as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  When our troops take off their uniforms we will serve them as well as they have served us -- because nobody should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home after serving on behalf of the United States. (Applause.)

But we've got some disagreements.  My opponent says it was "tragic" for me to end the Iraq war the way I did.  I think he's wrong.  He won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan.  I have.  My opponent wants to spend more money on military programs that our Joint Chiefs don't even want.  I'll use that money that we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt -- (applause) -- and to put more people back to work rebuilding roads and schools and bridges.  (Applause.)  After a decade of war, we need to do some nation-building here at home.  That's what we're going to do.  (Applause.)

So, Florida, that's the choice that we now face.  That's the choice that you face.  Over and over we have been told by our opponents that the only answer, the only way are bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations, shrink government -- because their basic idea is that since government can't do everything, it should do almost nothing.  If you can't afford health insurance, hope you don't get sick.  If there's some toxic pollution that's going into the air that our kids breathe, well, that's the price of progress.  If you can't afford to go to college, borrow some money from your parents.

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

THE PRESIDENT:  That's what he said.  It's amazing that you guys didn’t think of that, students.  (Laughter.)

But you know what, that's not who we are.  As Americans, we insist on personal responsibility and individual initiative.  We know you've got to work hard.  We know you're not entitled to success, you've got to earn it.  And we honor the small businesspeople and the strivers and the dreamers and the risk-takers who've been the driving force between our free enterprise system, the greatest engine of growth and prosperity that the world has ever known.

But we also believe that this country works only because we also accept certain obligations to one another, because we think about future generations.  (Applause.)  As citizens, we understand it's not about what can be done for us, but what can be done by us, together, as a nation.  (Applause.)  Together as one people.  (Applause.)   

And those of you who were with me in '08 -- (applause) -- you understand this because that election was about you.  You brought about change.  You're the reason seniors across Florida are saving an average of $600 every year on their prescription drug because of Obamacare.  You did that.  (Applause.)

You're the reason a woman in Doral, who's already working full-time during the day, can now afford to go to school at night because she's getting the financial aid that she needs.  (Applause.)  You're the reason there's families in Florida who are able to save their homes from foreclosure, and keep that piece of the American Dream.  You made that possible. 

You're the reason why young immigrants who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag are no longer going to be deported from the only home they've ever known. (Applause.)  You're the reason we ended "don't ask, don't tell" so anybody who loves this country can serve this country.  (Applause.)  You're the reason why families are welcoming back our brave soldiers, saying:  "Welcome home."  (Applause.)

So, Florida, you can't turn back now.


THE PRESIDENT:  We can't give into the cynicism that the other side is peddling.  Because what happens, if you give up on the idea that your voice matters, then somebody is going to fill that void.  Oil companies will write our energy plans.  The drug companies and the insurance companies, they'll write our health care plans.  The folks who are writing the $10 million check who are buying this election; the people who are trying to make it harder for you to vote; the folks who want to tell you who to marry; the people who are trying to tell women that they can't make up their own minds about their health care choices -- (applause) -- they're the folks who are going to be filling that void if you don't step up.  (Applause.) 

But if you claim the power that you have, if you are determined to move us forward, the American people cannot be stopped.  (Applause.) 

And I tell you, we've got a lot more work to do.  We've got more good jobs to create.  We've got more good schools to build, more great teachers to hire, more troops to bring home -- (applause) -- more veterans to take care of.  And if you will make some phone calls for me, and knock on some doors with me, talk to your neighbors and your friends about what's at stake -- if you'll register to vote, and make sure you turn out to vote -- (applause) -- then we will finish what we started.  (Applause.)  We will open the doors of opportunity to all who are willing to work hard to walk through them.  (Applause.)  We will win Florida.  (Applause.)  We will win this election.  (Applause.)  And you and I together will remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)   

12:32 P.M. EDT

Spendenrekord im US-Wahlkampf: Obama sammelt erstmals mehr Geld als Romney - US-Wahl - FOCUS Online - Nachrichten

Spendenrekord im US-Wahlkampf: Obama sammelt erstmals mehr Geld als Romney - US-Wahl - FOCUS Online - Nachrichten

Program Status AIG

Program Status AIG

Investment in American International Group (AIG)

Investment in American International Group (AIG)

Video President Obama speaks in Melbourne, Florida

Highlights of NFL Champions at the White House | The White House

Highlights of NFL Champions at the White House | The White House

Increased Costs During Retirement Under the Romney-Ryan Medicare Plan | Center for American Progress Action Fund

Gov. Romney writing on a whiteboard at a news conference
SOURCE: AP/ Evan Vucci

Gov. Mitt Romney writes on a white board as he talks about Medicare during a news conference. The increase in health care costs under the Romney-Ryan plan for Medicare would be financially debilitating for all seniors.
  • Download the report: 

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) want to convert our nation’s Medicare program into a voucher system for people who are under 55 years of age. Under their plan seniors beginning in 2023 would receive vouchers to purchase health insurance from private insurance companies or from traditional Medicare. If premiums for traditional Medicare or the private plan they choose cost more than the voucher amount, then seniors would have to pay the difference themselves.

The Romney-Ryan plan would also convert the joint state-federal Medicaid program into a so-called block grant program, designating a reduced amount of fund s for each state. And the Romney-Ryan plan would repeal the Affordable Care Act, which reduces drug costs and Medicare premiums and increases access to preventive services for all seniors.

Using data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other government agencies along with parameters from published academic research studies, this study analyzes the impact of the Romney-Ryan plan on current and future seniors and shows that the increase in health care costs under the Romney-Ryan plan would be financially debilitating for all seniors. We detail these findings in the pages that follow, but briefly here are the findings.

Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan claim that no one over 55 will be affected by their health care plan. This claim is false. Their plan would harm all seniors. The Romney-Ryan plan would hurt current seniors in two important ways:
  • Increased drug costs and higher Medicare premiums. By repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Romney-Ryan plan would raise health care costs in retirement by $11,000 for the average person who is 65 years old today.
  • Increased long-term care costs, including increased costs for nursing home care, because of cuts to Medicaid. A substantial share of Medicaid spending pays for health care costs for Medicare beneficiaries. The Romney-Ryan Medicaid cuts mean a loss of over $2,500 annually for seniors currently on Medicare who also rely on Medicaid. Unlike the Medicare voucher system that would begin in 2023 the cuts to Medicaid would begin almost immediately.
For seniors who will become eligible for Medicare after 2022, the financial harm would be even worse.
  • Increasingly unaffordable costs for all seniors who qualify for Medicare after 2022. For seniors turning 65 in 2023, Medicare costs during retirement would increase by $59,500 in 2012 dollars under the Romney-Ryan plan. Because under the Romney-Ryan plan the amount of seniors’ vouchers will not keep pace with rising health care costs, these numbers are even worse for future generations. In today’s dollars seniors who qualify for Medicare in 2030 would see an increase of $124,600 in Medicare costs over their retirement. Seniors who qualify for Medicare in 2040 will see an increase of $216,600. And by 2050 newly eligible seniors will pay $331,200 more in Medicare costs over their retirement.
  • Additional costs from private plans cherry picking healthier patients. Three-fourths of all Medicare beneficiaries are currently in traditional Medicare. The Romney-Ryan plan would include traditional Medicare as an option in the proposed program, but the costs for seniors who choose to remain in the traditional Medicare program would likely increase even more sharply than for seniors who chose a private plan. Most analysts expect the traditional Medicare plan to attract Medicare beneficiaries with the greatest health needs. In that case, Medicare would no longer enjoy a balanced risk pool and seniors choosing traditional Medicare could wind up paying an extra $29,000 on average over their retirement lifetime above and beyond the costs described above.
These estimates are conservative because we modeled the plan that Rep. Ryan released—and that Gov. Romney endorsed—earlier this year. As the Congressional Budget Office has estimated, Rep. Ryan’s original 2011 plan would result in increased costs that are several orders of magnitude greater than those modeled here.
Let’s examine each of these troubling consequences in turn.

Increased costs for current seniors

Increased drug costs and higher premiums

The Affordable Care Act saves money for both current and future seniors, but Gov. Romney has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act if he is elected president. Repealing the Affordable Care Act will harm the 36 million current seniors in the traditional Medicare program in four ways.

First, cost sharing for parts A (hospital care) and B (physician services) will increase because the Affordable Care Act’s adjustments to payment rates for health care providers other than physicians will be repealed. Since costs per hospitalization or nursing home stay will rise, the costs that beneficiaries have to pay will also rise.

Second, this change will lead to increases in premiums paid by beneficiaries for Medicare part B. Third, the “donut hole” in the prescription drug plan, which will be closed by the Affordable Care Act, would be reopened, meaning both current and future seniors would pay more for the medicines they need.

Finally, cost sharing for preventive services, which is eliminated under the Affordable Care Act, would be reinstated, meaning that seniors would have to pay for important preventive care, including cancer screenings that they now access for free.

Despite Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan’s claims that their plan will not affect current seniors, estimates of the costs to seniors of repealing the Affordable Care Act suggests that annual costs for current seniors in traditional Medicare would rise by more than $200 in 2013, and that added cost would increase to more than $700 in 2021.

To assess the long-term impact of these cost increases on seniors, we used the Social Security Administration’s life tables to translate these annual increases into Medicare costs over the course of their retirement. To account for inflation, we express all future amounts in 2012 dollars.

Figure 1 shows our results.

We estimate that a current 70 year old will pay nearly $8,000 more for Medicare in retirement as a result of the Romney-Ryan plan. A current 65 year old will pay over $11,000 more for Medicare in retirement. And a current 55 year old will pay over $18,000 more for Medicare in retirement.

Increased long-term care costs, including nursing home costs

Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan propose turning Medicaid into a block grant and cutting Medicaid spending by indexing the growth of the program to economywide inflation and population growth. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2022, federal spending on Medicaid will fall 35 percent relative to a baseline that excludes the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act. By 2030 federal Medicaid spending will be 49 percent lower than the non-Affordable Care Act baseline.

Because the Romney-Ryan plan would not implement reforms that reduce health spending overall, but only reduce the amount that the federal government will pay toward that spending in Medicaid, states and Medicaid beneficiaries will have to shoulder the total burden of the 49 percent reduction in federal spending. This would have a significant effect on seniors, as 9 million Medicare recipients currently depend on Medicaid funds, including 1.9 million seniors who rely on Medicaid to support their long-term care needs.

To focus on how the Romney-Ryan plan affects current seniors, we focus only on Medicare beneficiaries who are 65 or older. Currently, 23 percent of Medicaid expenditures are paid on behalf of seniors who are also enrolled in Medicare. We apply this percentage to the total Medicaid cuts (excluding the increased Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act) in the first 10 years of the Romney-Ryan budget. We then divide this product by the projected number of seniors who would rely on Medicaid over the next 10 years.

On average, the Romney-Ryan Medicaid cuts would mean an annual decrease of $2,500 in benefits for each senior who relies on Medicaid to help pay for long-term care. To compensate for these cuts, either seniors or their families would have to pay more for their current levels of care or be forced to cut back on care.

Increased costs for future seniors

Beginning in 2023 the Romney-Ryan plan would convert Medicare spending into “premium support,” providing vouchers to beneficiaries to purchase either a private health insurance plan or the traditional Medicare plan. Private insurance plans would submit bids for how much they would charge to provide coverage. The voucher would be tied to the premium of the private plan with the second-lowest cost, or the premium for traditional Medicare—whichever is lower. 

If beneficiaries choose a plan that costs more than the voucher, they must pay the difference.
In some geographic areas traditional Medicare might make the lowest bid, but in others some private plans might make lower bids. In areas where private plans make bids that are lower than the cost of traditional Medicare, the voucher would be tied to the premium of a private plan. As a result many beneficiaries would be forced to pay sharply higher premiums to stay in traditional Medicare.

The Romney-Ryan plan not only would shift costs to seniors who wanted to stay in a traditional Medicare plan but would also increase costs to all seniors. The plan would set the initial voucher amount at $7,500 in 2023. The plan caps the rate of growth in the voucher amount to the rate of growth of gross domestic product plus 0.5 percentage points. This growth rate is much slower than the projected growth in health care costs, which means that the voucher would become increasingly insufficient to cover the costs of insurance, therefore shifting an increasing share of insurance premium costs to seniors. There are no provisions in the Romney-Ryan plan that would be expected to reduce the rate of growth of these costs.

Seniors will face higher costs not only because of this cost shift from the government but also because the Romney-Ryan plan increases systemwide costs by promoting private insurance that will be more costly than the existing Medicare system. The Romney-Ryan plan would cost more than the current Medicare system because, as the Congressional Budget Office has documented, private insurance companies have higher profits and administrative costs than Medicare does, and because the plan would reduce the market share, and therefore the purchasing power, of traditional Medicare.

Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan claim that privatizing Medicare will increase competition among health plans, allowing market forces to lower costs. But the Romney-Ryan plan does not address underlying health care costs or consider that the health care market functions differently than other consumer markets. Ample evidence exists that premium support would not foster the type of competition that reduces prices. The Congressional Budget Office concludes that premium-support plans would achieve much of their federal savings from “increases in the premiums paid by beneficiaries, not from increases in the efficiency of health care delivery.”

There also is evidence that “Medicare beneficiaries are less responsive to differences in premiums when choosing a health plan than the privately insured population is, so plans may have less incentive to compete on the basis of premiums in the Medicare market than in the privately insured market.” These concerns have played out in the part D market, where most savings achieved by the program are a result of factors other than competition, including lower enrollment and greater generic utilization.

Increased costs to all seniors who qualify for Medicare after 2022

Because the Romney-Ryan voucher would grow more slowly than health care costs, seniors would become responsible for a greater share of the premium over time. We find that the Romney-Ryan plan’s cost-shifting effect alone would raise the average health care bill:
  • For seniors reaching age 65 in 2023 by $32,900
  • For seniors reaching age 66 in 2030 by $73,600
  • For seniors reaching age 67 in 2040 by $139,100
  • For seniors reaching age 67 in 2050 by $225,200
This significant increase in health care costs for seniors in the future due to this cost-shifting effect would consume 8 percent of their lifetime Social Security benefits for those turning 65 in 2023, 17 percent of lifetime Social Security benefits for those turning 66 in 2030, 30 percent of lifetime Social Security benefits for those turning 67 in 2040, and 42 percent of lifetime Social Security benefits for those turning 67 in 2050.

The Romney-Ryan plan would also raise systemwide health care costs, adding even more to what seniors would pay under this plan. As the share of the population participating in traditional Medicare declines, Medicare’s market share would fall and neither Medicare nor any single private insurer would have sufficient market share to negotiate provider prices as low as Medicare can achieve now. In addition, with more private insurance companies involved in Medicare, administrative costs and profits would rise.

In analyzing the 2011 version of the Ryan plan, the Congressional Budget Office projected that these factors would raise Medicare costs by 39 percent starting in 2022. Because there is considerable uncertainty about how many seniors would switch to the private plans and how rapidly Medicare’s bargaining power would decline, we decided to be conservative and assume that costs would rise by only half as much as in the CBO model, and that it would take 10 years for the loss in bargaining power to phase in. Even with these conservative assumptions, we find very large additional costs for seniors. The total additional retirement cost to seniors who reach retirement age after 2022 under the Romney-Ryan plan is shown in 

Figure 2.

Once you add the systemwide costs to the cost-shifting effects listed above the total increase is:
  • $59,500 for seniors reaching age 65 in 2023
  • $124,600 for seniors reaching age 66 in 2030
  • $216,600 for seniors reaching age 67 in 2040
  • $331,200 for seniors reaching age 67 in 2050
While retirees’ incomes will also increase over time as the cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security rises, it will not increase as rapidly as these required payments. The total additional costs to seniors would consume 15 percent of lifetime Social Security benefits by 2023, 29 percent by 2030, 46 percent by 2040, and 62 percent by 2050.

Additional costs from private plans cherry picking healthier patients

The impact of the Romney-Ryan plan would be even greater for seniors who want to remain in traditional Medicare. Over time, the costs associated with enrolling in traditional Medicare under the Romney-Ryan voucher system are likely to rise, potentially quite dramatically. The figures above reflect costs for the average Medicare patient, whether they are enrolled in traditional Medicare or a private plan. But the traditional Medicare program is likely to attract a disproportionate share of Medicare patients with the greatest health needs because these patients are most dependent on the broad choice of providers available in traditional Medicare.
Since the mid-1980s, private Medicare plans have attracted the healthiest, lowest-cost enrollees from the Medicare population—a phenomenon known as “adverse selection.” This trend would accelerate under the Romney-Ryan plan. If less healthy, more costly beneficiaries are left behind in traditional Medicare, then premiums for traditional Medicare would rise. In turn, more beneficiaries would leave traditional Medicare, causing premiums to rise further, and so on—creating a so-called “death spiral.”

The Romney-Ryan plan would adjust the voucher for health status—redistributing payments from plans with healthier enrollees to plans with less healthy enrollees. This “risk adjustment” mechanism would certainly help, but would still be insufficient at controlling costs. Current risk-adjustment methods are still far from perfect. The current risk-adjustment model used to calculate payments to Medicare Advantage plans can account for only 11 percent of the total variation in Medicare enrollees’ annual costs.Current methods tend to overpay plans with healthier enrollees and underpay plans with less healthy enrollees. Moreover, recent studies show that private health plans have become increasingly sophisticated at manipulating how they code the health status of their patients, undermining the risk-adjustment procedures.

Thus, even with risk adjustment, premiums for traditional Medicare would likely rise and enrollment would likely decline over time under the Romney-Ryan plan. This outcome is made more probable by the fact that the Romney-Ryan plan would not require private plans to provide a standard set of benefits—allowing them to design benefits that attract healthier beneficiaries.

To our knowledge, there is only one peer-reviewed study, “The Distributional Consequences of a Medicare Premium Support Proposal,” by University of California-Los Angeles professor Thomas Rice and health consultant Katherine A. Desmond, that analyzes the effects of a Medicare voucher system that both retains traditional Medicare and uses risk adjustment to calculate payments to plans. This study simulates the additional costs that enrollees would face if they wish to remain in traditional Medicare under various assumptions about the effectiveness of risk adjustment.

The plan modeled in this study and Romney-Ryan are remarkably similar in that both are premium support plans with risk adjustment and a traditional Medicare option. Some differences will doubtlessly occur, but we do not believe these differences are likely to change our results. Moreover, we focus on the results that use the most favorable assumptions for the Romney-Ryan plan. We use the Rice-Desmond results and update them to reflect expected Medicare costs in 2022 instead of 1996, the baseline year they use. Table 1 shows the additional costs that would be paid in each calendar year by participants in traditional Medicare because of adverse selection.
Even assuming highly successful risk-adjustment of 75 percent, far beyond what policy-makers have currently achieved, added lifetime retirement costs from adverse selection would likely exceed $29,000 in 2012 dollars.


Under the Romney-Ryan plan, all Americans would be forced to spend substantially more money on health care during their retirements—from tens of thousands of dollars for current seniors to hundreds of thousands of dollars more for future seniors. Those who are unable to afford these significantly increased health care costs would be forced to reduce other retirement spending or forgo necessary care.

There is no question that the long-term costs of medical care need to be addressed. But forcing seniors to shoulder the entire burden of rising health care costs is not the solution. A better, more just solution is to address the underlying causes of high health care costs, reducing costs overall, and enabling everyone to pay less without compromising access. The Affordable Care Act takes many steps in this direction, but as we have outlined elsewhere, there is more to be done to make the system more efficient overall and create better value for both individuals as well as the government.

David Cutler is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Otto Eckstein professor of applied economics at Harvard University, Topher Spiro is the Managing Director for Health Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and Maura Calsyn is the Associate Director for Health Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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Munich Re: Uncertain macroeconomic environment poses severe test for risk management | Munich Re

Dr. rer. nat. Torsten Jeworrek
ist Mitglied des Vorstands der Münchener Rück AG. Photo Munich Re

September 2012 | Reinsurance

Press release

Munich Re: Uncertain macroeconomic environment poses severe test for risk management

The crisis in the eurozone, uncertainties in the capital markets and sustained low interest rates are impacting the insurance industry. Munich Re warns of increasing challenges in the year ahead even though the capital base of insurers and reinsurers remains strong.

The uncertain economic environment poses major challenges for insurers and reinsurers. 

Very different scenarios, some with grave consequences for insurance business, currently have to be considered in risk management. The upheavals in the financial markets are taking their toll on insurance and reinsurance undertakings, above all on the investment side. 

Historically low interest rates are burdening the business model, particularly in the case of savings and pension products and long-tail liability covers. Against this background, the renewal of reinsurance treaties at 1 January 2013 takes on special significance.

Torsten Jeworrek, Munich Re’s Reinsurance CEO: "More than ever, our industry faces the challenge of achieving stable earnings in its core business and further reducing its dependency on the investment result. The key question will be how quickly and to what extent insurers and reinsurers will succeed in factoring the low interest-rate level into their price calculations."

For some time, the economic environment in which the insurance industry finds itself has been characterised by historically low interest rates, a negative real interest rate in some countries, and high volatility in the capital markets. 

Added to that are a series of risk scenarios for which insurers and reinsurers have to brace themselves. These include the withdrawal of individual Member States from the eurozone, the insolvency of states, a giant leap in inflation, or deflation. "Munich Re regards the stabilisation of the eurozone as one of today's most burning political tasks. As a prudent risk manager, we have to prepare ourselves at the same time for very different scenarios", emphasised Jeworrek. 

By closely matching assets to liabilities, adapting insurance product strategy, and taking concrete operative measures, it is feasible to dampen the consequences of further possible upheavals in the economic environment. Munich Re supports its clients with service and consultancy, above all with products that allow flexible capital optimisation.

Outlook for the renewals

As the reinsurance markets still have sufficient capacity at this time, Munich Re expects that prices, terms and conditions will largely remain stable during the renewal of reinsurance treaties at 1 January 2013. 

This also applies to natural catastrophe business, provided there are no major loss occurrences in the last quarter of 2012. For windstorm covers in Europe, further rate adjustments to the natural hazard models published in 2011 could result from higher claims expectations.

In the casualty classes, Munich Re is proceeding on the assumption that prices will stabilise, with a trend towards slight increases. Especially in these classes of business with very long-tail covers, the low interest rates are already squeezing future profitability. If at the same time the rate of inflation is above the interest-rate level – i.e. with negative real interest rates – this pressure will intensify, since claims payments that rise due to inflation can only be partly compensated for by investment gains. This must be factored into our pricing, particularly for long-term business.

The general improvement in primary insurance prices in the USA, as well as in motor liability business in certain European countries, should have a positive impact on reinsurance rates. In the 2012 renewals, Munich Re has so far been able to improve the profitability of its own business by 2.4%.

Jeworrek: "Our business is founded on Munich Re's financial stability, i.e. its reliability in terms of settling claims today and in the future. On this basis, we offer our clients – also in troubled economic times – risk transfer solutions that provide relief and spur their business. For this, however, we need risk-commensurate premiums that reflect the economic environment."

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In case of enquiries, please contact:

Media Relations Munich, Anke Rosumek
Tel.: +49 (89) 38 91-23 38

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Tel.: +852 2536 6936

Media Relations USA, Beate Monastiridis-Dörr
Tel.: +1 (609) 243-4622 

Munich Re stands for exceptional solution-based expertise, consistent risk management, financial stability and client proximity. Munich Re creates value for clients, shareholders and staff alike. In the financial year 2011, the Group – which pursues an integrated business model consisting of insurance and reinsurance – achieved a profit of €0.71bn on premium income of around €50bn. It operates in all lines of insurance, with around 47,000 employees throughout the world. With premium income of around €27bn from reinsurance alone, it is one of the world's leading reinsurers. Especially when clients require solutions for complex risks, Munich Re is a much sought-after risk carrier. Its primary insurance operations are concentrated mainly in the ERGO Insurance Group, one of the major insurance groups in Germany and Europe. ERGO is represented in over 30 countries worldwide and offers a comprehensive range of insurances, provision products and services. In 2011, ERGO posted premium income of €20bn. In international healthcare business, Munich Re pools its insurance and reinsurance operations, as well as related services, under the Munich Health brand. Munich Re's global investments amounting to €202bn are managed by MEAG, which also makes its competence available to private and institutional investors outside the Group.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of the management of Munich Re. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our Company. The Company assumes no liability to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

Monte Carlo, 9 September 2012

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