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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Republicans Revive Mitt Romney’s Favorite Medicare Attack

Republicans Revive Mitt Romney’s Favorite Medicare Attack

With substantially improved and new insurance signups surging, Republicans have been forced to pivot to a new line of attack against the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a series of news releases accusing Democratic candidates of cutting Medicare through their support of the health care reform law.

“As the ObamaCare disaster continues to unfold, Mark Pryor and National Democrats have resorted to deceiving seniors using their old and discredited MediScare playbook,” reads the release targeting Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR).

“What’s new this year is the blatant hypocrisy that Mark Pryor and his liberal allies in Washington are exhibiting,” it continues. “Pryor’s deciding vote for ObamaCare cut $717 billion from Medicare—including nearly $5.4 billion directly from Arkansas ($10,296 per Medicare recipient in Arkansas).”

CNN reports that the NRSC campaign will target Senators Pryor, Mark Begich (D-AK), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Udall (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Al Franken (D-MN), along with Senate candidates Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) and Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI).

If this line of attack sounds familiar, it’s because it was a centerpiece of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s case against the Affordable Care Act in the 2012 elections. The Republican ticket repeatedly accused President Obama of having “robbed” and “raided” $716 billion from Medicare to “pay for Obamacare, a risky, unproven, federal takeover of health care.”

Of course, that attack ignored the fact that the overwhelming majority of the $716 billion actually represented reductions in how much Medicare pays hospitals and insurers, as WonkBlog’s Sarah Kliff explained last August. Medicare benefits themselves are not affected.

It also ignored the fact that Ryan’s own budget included the exact same $716 billion in cuts (with the implied promise of deeper cuts in the future to pay for trillions of dollars in new defense spending and tax cuts). He has also kept the savings in subsequent budget proposals. Nearly every Republican in Congress — including Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Pryor’s chief rival in his 2014 re-election bid — has supported Ryan’s budget plans, significantly blunting the accusation’s impact.

Nonetheless, House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) spokesman Brendan Buck told MSNBC that the attack is “a tried and true campaign hit” — ignoring that it totally failed to blunt the Democratic Party’s sweeping victory in 2012.

There’s no denying that Republicans had a good political month targeting the Affordable Care Act’s rocky rollout. But the fact that they are already returning to this easily debunked attack, which was proven to be unpersuasive in the last election, raises the question of whether they are running out of fresh attacks against the law. And with repeal seemingly off the table, one wonders where Republicans will turn if good news about the law continues to trickle out.

Photo: monkeyz_uncle via Flickr

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Carol Dijkhuyzen

    A republican will never reach the White House…A republican means, selfish,greedy,evil human being with no regard for others..

    • Independent1

      Carol, what we have here is a bunch of total goofballs: even in Texas which has been rampant about refusing to expand Medicaid, the writing is on the wall. Here are some excerpts from a DailyKos article with notes from interviews with Texas Republican congressman:

      There does seem to be a general feeling in the chamber that something is bubbling up below the surface. As I went to Republican members offices and behind closed doors there is almost a sense of foreboding on the Republican side that is palpable – and it’s not just in Austin. Another member I met with in the conservative district of Sherman which borders Oklahoma said, “ Look I’m as conservative as they come, but I’m not going out to dinner with Ted Cruz in DC, I’m not a celebrity. I got neighbors to take care of. Republicans I have known for years are signing up for Obamacare on the federal website. What in God’s name am I going to tell them come 2014, that I am going to kick them off their insurance. These same people are being asked to go to the Turn Texas Blue meetings.”

      He walked over to his large office window and pulled the curtains back and pointed, “Look at that. Those god dammed people set up right outside my office. They are registering hundreds of people a week for the Democratic party, and now they have another office on the outside of town near the damned pig farm.” He shook his head and walked back to his desk and sat down with an air of resignation. “Ya know, I got caught up in the Teaparty and the Perry presidential run and then the Cruz crusade, but ya know, I got people to help, who have kids to feed and grandparents to take care of, and I’m not going to let them down.

      Perry can’t change his mind now, so we are just going to have to change it for him. Otherwise you mark my word, we are going to get beat down the road and we are going to get beat bad, and it’s gonna happen sooner rather than later. This Turning Texas Blue outfit means business, they are everywhere. You won’t read about it in the national papers, but I’m telling you in our Republican caucus meetings at the State House there is a sense of panic so thick you could cut it with a knife !”

  • docb

    They do nothing and have proposed nothing for the Nation but everything for supporting the wealthy and Big business…then loose big time and adopt the losers slogan…Brilliant!!!!
    That autopsy was prophetic…the repub baggers have killed the GOP!

  • Bill Thompson

    One of the greatest tools on the Internet is Fact Check people need only to look up the question at hand, and get an unbiased accounting of what ever subject they wish to research. It took me two minutes to find this in five minutes to read it pass this on.

    • stcroixcarp

      Thank you. That was enlightening.

  • howa4x

    The party of No can’t bring themselves to lead. The GOP’s contribution to solving our national problems is to obstruct, delay, obstificate, and outright lie. These attacks are part of that strategy. They have become a party void of ideas, and have yet to paint a vision of the country that will unify all groups . This is why they will sink from national contention. All the dems have to do is go to the tape and show Ryan on the floor of the House proposing a voucher program for Medicare, or get one of the tea party goons to say something stupid about it. Case closed.

  • itsfun

    When you cut 716 billion from Medicare and say it doesn’t affect the recipients, but just the doctors and hospitals you are nuts. Who is going to pay the doctors and hospitals? The doctors and hospitals are just not accepting medicare recipients because they don’t get paid. Saves money, but kills seniors.

    • Dominick Vila

      Really? The $716B in MEDICARE savings involve improved billing, elimination of duplication, and process improvements. Unscrupulous service providers were affected, but seniors like me were not.
      I don’t know where you heard that doctors and hospitals are rejecting MEDICARE patients, but I assure you, that is not the case in Florida, where I live. Most doctors, hospitals and labs depend on MEDICARE patients, who constitute a high percentage of the population of this state, to stay in business.

      • Sand_Cat

        He made it up. Where do you think itsfun and the other liars and lunatics get their “facts”?

        • Independent1

          My hunch is that, itsfun, is just one more RNC troll like Biker Boy, Obozo Idiot, Foundling and others. They probably get a bonus of some kind from the RNC based on how successful the lies they come up with turn out to be (how far and wide they spread).

    • Bill Thompson
    • Independent1

      Talk about killing people – take a look at the excerpts from a CNN article I posted below on how the GOP’s refusal to expand Medicaid and provide subsidies to hospitals while they’re dragging their feet in deciding just what they are going to do, is forcing hospital upon hospital to close due to bankruptcy in Red State upon Red State. Putting not only seniors, but everyone who lives in a suburban setting at risk of dying because many are now having to drive 50 miles or more to get to an open hospital in an emergency situation. That has far more potential to be killing people!!! And the GOP is doing nothing about the hospital closures except trying blame it on the feds!!! What hypocrites!!!

  • Dominick Vila

    The more outlandish their claims, the less credibility the GOP has. Particularly when the party that is, allegedly, intent on reducing spending is complaining about imaginary MEDICARE spending reductions…while trying to dismantle the program.
    The only impact that seniors have seen involve lower RX costs and the end of the “donut hole”.

  • Socialism is Organized Evil

    Expanding democratic processes can be achieved by increasing the number of persons eligible to vote, expanding the scope of issues determined by democratic methods, or both.

    • Sand_Cat

      Glad to hear you oppose GOP efforts to limit the voting of those who disagree with them. Thanks for your support!

  • Independent1

    Talk about hypocrites, the GOP is hyping up how Obama supposedly is putting Medicare at risk by falsely claiming he took 716 Billion out of the program when the 716B were actually savings from improvements to Medicare processes; While on another front, the GOP is doing absolutely nothing to prevent the collapse of the healthcare delivery systems in many of the Red States that have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. CNN is running a story about hospital upon hospital going bankrupt in Red States.

    Here are some excerpts from the CNN article titled: GOP fight with Obamacare is closing hospitals:

    When the Affordable Care Act was originally passed, subsidies to hospitals with large uninsured “charity care” populations were cut, figuring that the expansion of Medicaid under the law would replace this funding. But then the Supreme Court ruled that states could decide whether to expand Medicaid or not. Half the states have said they will not extend Medicaid or are putting off deciding. These are states mostly controlled by Republican governors, state legislatures, or both.

    There was really no downside to extending Medicaid to cover individuals who earn up to 133% of the federal poverty level. The federal government is covering 100% of the cost of Medicaid for the next two years and 90% afterward. Columnist Josh Barro has pointed out the bind: “(W)hen Republican state officials decline to participate, they will have to explain to both medical providers and potential Medicaid beneficiaries that they turned down free federal money just to spite the President.” And yet the 25 states that have indeed refused Medicaid expansion will soon find they’re not just spiting the President but also their own citizens.

    The people who rely on these “essential hospitals” aren’t just low-income folks. Middle-class Americans who live in rural communities will have to travel 40 or 50 miles just to reach the nearest emergency room if these hospitals close their doors.

    According to Bloomberg News, Pam Renshaw crashed her four-wheeler in Folkston, Georgia, and suffered painful second- and third-degree burns on nearly half her body. But her local hospital had shut down. It took two hours for her to get to an ambulance center 20 miles away and then on to a hospital in Florida where she could get treatment.

    On the heels of news of rural hospitals shuttering come reports that health care costs overall are falling and that the cost of Obamacare is expected to be billions of dollars less than expected. Of course, some of the decline in health care cost is certainly the result of a still-sluggish economy. Yet does anyone doubt that if health care costs had risen in the same period to even a fraction of a degree, Republicans would be screaming from the rooftops, blaming Obamacare?

    • Independent1

      Here’s a little more on GOP hypocrisy from the above CNN article: Trying to blame the cuts in hospital funding which resulted from their refusal to accept Medicaid expansion on Obamacare itself:

      Desperate to try to blame everything and the weather on the Affordable Care Act, Republicans have tried to pin the cuts in subsidies to hospitals on the dynamics of the law alone.

      A spokesperson for Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal blamed the Affordable Care Act for cutting subsidies to the hospitals that treat the uninsured while refusing to acknowledge the governor’s power to expand Medicaid at the state level and solve the entire crisis.

      You heard that right: Republicans like Deal, constantly railing against the federal government and clamoring for “state’s rights,” are suddenly abdicating state responsibility and blaming the feds for not fixing the problem.

      It’s the same hypocritical dynamic at work in more than 30 states that have turned their roles in setting up health insurance exchanges over to the federal government. It seems Republicans want state authority when it comes to pushing their conservative agenda but not when it comes to providing basic health care and access to insurance for their residents.

  • Allan Richardson

    The motto on the license plates of New Hampshire is “Live free or die.” This is a noble vow to take freely for oneself. The Republican health plan has a similar wording:
    Live SICK or die.

  • Allan Richardson

    To paraphrase the famous line in Treasure of the Sierra Madre,
    “FACTS? We don’t need no stinkin’ FACTS!”