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Where Obama-Romney Stand on Health Care, Social Security

Tuesday, 6 Nov 2012 | 9:41 AM ET
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If anyone thought the battle over health care ended with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare" as it's commonly called, they'd be more than a little wrong.

Both candidates have different takes on the issue, so here's a look at where they stand on health care as well as Social Security and Medicare.

President Obama: ow that the Supreme Court has upheld the law's individual mandate, Obama has said he will fight any attempt to overturn it in Congress.

Under the law, insurers will be banned from denying coverage to people with pre-existing illness; tax credits will subsidize premiums; people without work-based insurance will have access to new markets; small business gets help for offering insurance; and Medicaid will expand.

Mitt Romney: Romney has promised to work for repeal of Obamacare, which was modeled largely on his universal health care plan when he was governor of Massachusetts. He now says that states, not the federal government, should drive policy on the uninsured.

If elected, Romney said, he will propose guarantees that people who are "continuously covered" for a certain period be protected against losing insurance if they get sick, leave their job and need another policy.

Romney would also expand individual tax-advantaged medical savings accounts and let savings be used for insurance premiums as well as personal medical costs.

Social Security

Obama: The president has not proposed a comprehensive plan to address Social Security's potential financial problems. In 2011, proposed a new measure of inflation that would reduce annual increases in Social Security benefits. The proposal would reduce the long-term financing shortfall by about 25 percent, according to the Social Security actuaries. (Read More: Social Security Explained)

Romney: The GOP candidate would protect the status quo for people 55 and over but, for the next generation of retirees, he would raise the retirement age for full Social Security benefits by one or two years and reduce inflation increases in benefits for wealthier recipients.

Medicare

Obama: e is not calling for a major Medicare remake. Most of the president's cost-cutting ideas are incorporated in his health care law, and will phase in unless Romney wins and makes good on his pledge to repeal it. (Read More: Medicare and Medicaid Explained)

Other Obama proposals are drawn from government advisory groups or bipartisan commissions seeking consensus on how to reduce deficits. Obama's health care law already increases the Medicare payroll tax for individuals making over $200,000.

Romney: He has come out in support of his vice presidential running mate's plan. Rep. Paul Ryan would phase out the current Medicare system by 2022 and replace it with a voucher system. In this plan, seniors would be given vouchers by the government to purchase private insurance.

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Private insurers would compete with Medicare in and exchange, with each offering coverage roughly equivalent to what Medicare offers. Instead of offering seniors Medicare coverage, the government would provide an insurance subsidy equal to the second-least-expensive offering in the exchange.

Seniors who didn't want that particular coverage could use the subsidy to buy the less expensive insurance—or sign up for more expensive coverage and pay the difference out of pocket.

Both candidates say their plans will stop Medicare's growing costs, which are estimated to consume 20 percent of federal revenues by 2022.

Election 2012 Candidate Bios