Romney running mate Ryan hits back on health insurance, with Mom at his side


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The Independent US

Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan has put a personal spin on the debate over Medicare, bringing his 78-year-old mother on stage at a speech to senior citizens in Florida, where he vowed to protect the health-insurance programme for the elderly.

Under attack by Democrats for his cost-cutting plan that proposes a major transformation in how Medicare works, Mr Ryan went on the offensive at the weekend, saying that President Barack Obama would take billions from Medicare to pay for his 2010 healthcare-reform law.

Mr Ryan has also begun to align himself with presidential candidate Mitt Romney's approach, which would spend $716bn more on Medicare than Mr Obama proposes over the next 10 years.

Mr Ryan personalised the issue at The Villages, the world's biggest retirement community and a bastion of Republican support in a key swing state. "When I think of Medicare, it's not just a programme, it's what my mom relies on, it's what my grandma had," he said.

Mr Romney's choice of Mr Ryan as his running mate has put a spotlight on the Wisconsin Congressman's best-known achievement – a budget plan that would slash Medicare's projected costs by converting it to a programme that provides limited subsidies to buy coverage.