THE BLOG
08/17/2012 07:52 am ET Updated Oct 17, 2012

The President Should Challenge Romney to a 4th Debate on Medicare Only

Medicare, indeed health care in general, is a very complicated area. It does not lend itself well to a couple of questions on domestic policy incorporated into a general debate.

The Romney-Ryan campaign has declared that they want to have a big discussion about Medicare. Okay, Mr. President, call their bluff -- let us have a 4th debate (perhaps make it the first debate, to get this issue out of the way) devoted entirely to Medicare.

It is also enormously important to everyone. It is important to the elderly who receive the care provided. It is important to their children who, but for Medicare, would have to pay for their elderly parents' health care. It is important to their grandchildren whose needs, but for Medicare, would have to be balanced against their grandparents'. It is important to the economy so that people can spend/invest their money during their productive years without worrying about saving money to pay for their own health care.

Because the issue of health care is both important and very complicated, let us have not only a moderator for this debate, but also a couple of experts who can let the rest of us know whether the assertions of the candidates are true.

For example, former Governor Romney (R-MA) worked closely with MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber and President Obama worked closely with Harvard public health professor John McDonough. When the candidates had a major disagreement about factual issues, the moderator could turn to the professors and ask them to help the public understand the truth.

Both the Romney and Obama campaigns have said that they want to have a debate about Medicare.

If that is what they really want, let us do it in a real debate format, and let us provide some expert umpires to make sure this debate, at least, is tied to facts, not campaign pronouncements. It would be the best thing that could happen in American politics in decades.

Just one suggestion -- make sure the electrical grid in Florida is able to handle all the TVs that will be tuned in.

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