WASHINGTON (CNN) – The fight over health care got heated this summer - and the Democratic National Committee has been raising the temperature a few degrees with an incendiary assertion: that House Republicans tried earlier this year to do away with the Medicare program in its entirety.
The DNC is expanding the buy for its 30-second TV spot that cites GOP votes on a House budgetary amendment in early April of this year, and claims that "Republicans actually voted to abolish Medicare for future generations."
"The Republican Party, no friend of seniors," the ad says as it ends.
The amendment, sponsored by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, would have replaced the nearly unlimited health care coverage provided by Medicare with vouchers that future senior citizens would use to buy private health insurance. Unlike Medicare, the vouchers would have provided a fixed benefit to recipients.
Under Ryan's proposal, Medicare would have remained in place for anyone currently in the program and anyone age 55 or older right now. Anyone below that age cut-off would have been enrolled in the voucher program with the effect that Medicare would have been slowly phased out over time. The proposal drew support from 137 Republican members of Congress.
The DNC's ad, which debuted last week, will run on national cable, cable stations in the District of Columbia and in the districts of 10 House Republicans, including members of the House GOP leadership, and some Democrats consider vulnerable in the 2010 elections: Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska, Rep. Patrick Tiberi of Ohio, Rep. Mary Bono Mack of California, Rep. Don Young of Alaska, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio, and Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota.
The ad is supported by a total ad buy in range of six figures, a DNC official told CNN.