Washington (CNN) – The political battle over Medicare is getting hotter.
60 Plus, a conservative group, says it's going up with radio ads across the country to thank House Republicans for passing a budget that they say saves Medicare. This follows moves earlier this week by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and House Majority PAC, a Democratic-leaning political action committee, to go up with radio ads targeting Republicans who voted for their party's budget, accusing them of "ending Medicare."
60 Plus says it's going to spend $800,000 for a two week buy for ads in 39 congressional districts controlled by House Republicans. The group, which bills itself as "the conservative alternative to the liberal AARP," says the 60-second radio spots will be accompanied by phone calls and mailers.
"Something unusual happened last week…in Washington, DC of all places. Elected officials actually did what they said they would. The House passed a budget that protects and preserves Medicare for years to come," says the announcer, in one of the commercials.
House Republicans say that their budget, put together by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Budget Committee chairman, will save Medicare and keep it secure for future retirees. Democrats say the opposite is true, that the GOP plan will end the entitlement program in its current form and force seniors to pay much more for their health care coverage.
All this comes amid increased talk about reducing spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, to help reduce the nation's massive budget deficit.
The battle over Medicare should be a hot topic as the 2012 election cycle heats up. Polls from ABC News/Washington Post and from Marist released this week indicate that the vast majority of Americans oppose reducing spending on Medicare to help reduce the budget deficit. Those findings were in line with a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted earlier this year.
People 65 and older voted for Sen. John McCain over Sen. Barack Obama by a 53 to 45 percent margin in the 2008 presidential election, according to national exit polls. They were the only age group that McCain won.
In last year's midterm elections, seniors voted for the Republicans over the Democrats by a 59 to 38 percent margin. National Republicans effectively used Medicare as an issue with seniors during the campaign, warning that the new health care law passed earlier in 2010 by congressional Democrats and signed by President Obama could weaken Medicare.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn