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The GOP Candidates and Medicare - Let's Get Personal

Mitt Romney turned 65 this past Monday, but instead of going photo-op on his birthday by publicly enrolling in Medicare (as actress Patty Duke recently did), his campaign let it be known that he wouldn't be signing up for Medicare at all.

Romney will simply keep his private insurance coverage, an aide told the Wall Street Journal.

Romney, whose financial disclosure statements put his net worth at somewhere between $190 million to $250 million, doesn't really need Medicare, of course , as many journalists and commentators have pointed out. And because he's in favor of means-testing Medicare benefits, perhaps he's just doing what he would do unto everyone in the upper brackets, wealth-wise, should he be elected President. Nonetheless, some political commentators deemed it impolitic for Romney to give Medicare the cold shoulder so publicly.

Romney's chief rival in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, Rick Santorum, won't have to worry about this issue for quite a while. He won't turn 65 until May 10, 2023, by which time, he's warned, Medicare - unless it undergoes the kind of immediate political surgery that he's been calling for - will be bankrupt.

Now let's turn to Newt Gingrich, whose 69th birthday is coming up in June. Gingrich is already on Medicare - and Medigap, for that matter - as he explained ever so matter-of-factly last year as a guest on The Monitor Breakfast. Here he is, talking about "My Medicare":

Finally there's Ron Paul, who'll turn 77 in August. He's also enrolled in Medicare, it's been reported, though as a philosophical matter he's in favor of abolishing the program, arguing that it's unconstitutional. - Bill Hogan

See also: Where the GOP Candidates Stand on Medicare

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