GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney launched a new TV ad in Nevada Wednesday accusing President Barack Obama of "raiding" Medicare of $716 billion.
Romney said Obama used the money to pay for insurance mandates in his health care law, which Republicans want to repeal.
"Some think Obamacare is the same as free healthcare," the 30-second ad says. “But nothing is free. Obama is raiding $716 billion from Medicare, changing the program forever."
Romney began leveling the charge against Obama after the Republican announced Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate on Aug. 11.
Ryan wrote a GOP budget plan that could change Medicare for future retirees to a voucher-like private insurance program. It wouldn't affect current retired Americans or those older than 55. But Democrats and Obama seized on the issue and accused Romney and Ryan of wanting to "essentially end Medicare."
Romney and Republicans have fought back by pointing out Obama's health care law reduced Medicare spending by $716 billion over 10 years.
The savings would come from reducing Medicare payments to hospitals and other medical spending. Ryan's budget seeks the same level of cost-cutting but Romney has stepped up his criticism of Obama anyway.
The new Romney ad charges that Obama is "taxing wheelchairs and pacemakers." The commercial also notes families making less than $120,000 a year would pay a health care "tax."
“Free healthcare comes at a very high price," the ad concludes.
Romney claims in the ad that his and Ryan's plan "will restore Medicare funding and protect and strengthen the program for the next generation.”
Republicans argue Medicare will go bankrupt by 2024 without major reforms, while Democrats believe minor tinkering and cost trimming can save the program.
At any rate, fact check organizations have criticized both sides for stretching the truth during the debate.
PolitiFact ruled Romney's charges that Obama robbed Medicare of $716 billion as "mostly false" since the money comes from cost savings.
The Romney camp said it believes it is beginning to win the Medicare argument with Obama. Ryan, like other Republicans, has used his elderly mother on the campaign trail to promise he would never harm the Medicare program that she and others rely on in their retirement.