Mitt Romney Losing Support Among Seniors http://www.forbes.com/sites/helaineolen/2012/09/24/mitt-romney-losing-support-among-seniors/ A poll released Monday by Reuters and Ipsos proves the obvious: if a candidate talks tough on Medicare and other social welfare programs of use to senior citizens, the elderly will return the favor by deserting his campaign in droves. The latest unfortunate politician to learn this lesson is Republican nominee for president Mitt Romney, who has seen his support collapse by 20 percent among men and women over the age of 60 in the few weeks since the Democratic National Convention. Romney and his vice-presidential pick, congressman Paul Ryan, have attempted to make entitlement reform one of the main legs of their argument against another term by President Barack Obama, arguing that programs such as Medicare are financially unsustainable as currently constructed. Ryan has a scheme to reform Medicare by turning it into a voucher system for anyone now under the age of 55, giving them a credit so they can purchase Medicare or other health insurance on the open market. This plan â often known as Ryancare â has given Ryan a certain amount of street cred amongst the right wing of the Republican party, which attracts the sort of people who think medical care is a privilege that should be paid for by individuals on a case-by-case basis and that to believe anything else is not simple human decency, but a mark of out of control entitlement worthy of a Kardashian sister. (This wing of the Republican party also apparently attracts the sort of people who donât understand that infectious diseases arenât making distinctions about whether their host bodies have insurance and can pay their bills, but I am off topic here.) However, winning the approval of Beltway desk jockeys is a far cry from gaining the approval of potential voters â you know, those people who have lost hours of their life chatting with Belinda in claims adjustment and understand intuitively that no private health insurer is likely to offer a plan the average 85-year-old can afford. No doubt pollsters are now digging in to figure out what exactly made the over-55 crowd decide that the âI Got Mineâ platform isnât going to do it for them in 2012 but while we are waiting for the numbers, let me make a few common sense suggestions. First, the Romney campaign assumes that the elderly donât care about anyone but themselves. This belief does not take into account the the fact that many seniors have what are known as children and grandchildren. We know they â at least as a group â seem to like and want to help their progeny, even if they are people under the age of 55. Just take a look at any one of the numerous studies coming out revealing how numerous members of the over-60 crowd are jeopardizing their retirement in an attempt to help family members impacted by the Great Recession. Why would they want to stiff them on health insurance? For starters, theyâll likely end up paying the tab out of their personal kitty. Second, does any senior really think Medicare reforms are really going to stop with the 55 and under crowd? What happens when money runs short the next time? Does Ryancare suddenly impact 65 year olds? What if you are only 60? Donât tell me the elderly arenât thinking this way. Seniors are already petrified about their future healthcare costs, with some studies predicting that someone retiring now needs at least $240,000 to pay for their lifetime medical bills. Most of us donât have this amount of money saved for all retirement expenses, never mind targeted for doctor bills. Third, Medicare is a well liked program that happens to work. Itâs so damn good, a certain percentage of recipients have convinced themselves that itâs not a government entitlement. This allows them to turn up at various political rallies waving signs saying âKeep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare,â and not get why people are laughing at them. Finally, health insurers are about as popular as the Grim Reaper. Telling people that their loved ones are going to get really familiar with their pals at the health insurance company isnât exactly the best way to win friends and influence voters. If anything, it will send people running in the other direction â even if they need to embrace a candidate that, a mere month ago, a certain percentage had dismissed as the Muslim version of the Manchurian candidate.