Counter-attack in the campaign fight over Medicare
House Democrats called on the Republicans not to end Medicare during a news conference, April 15, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
April 21st, 2011
12:37 PM ET
3 years ago

Counter-attack in the campaign fight over Medicare

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


Filed under: Medicare
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. aldol

    Paul Ryan budget is a joke as it DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH

    if you think that his cuts are bad , watch the cuts that will be coming when interest rates hit 10%,

    then you'll be wishing for Paul Ryan's budget.

    The liberal media is used to get its way by shouting lies often enough. It won't work anymore, the capital markets won't give a proverbial rat's axx about the liberal bs

    April 21, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. KatR

    I amd 64 and embarassed that my peers in the 60 plus group are so ignornat.

    April 21, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. PalmReader

    Fortunately for those of us who really care what happens to us in our *senior* years, the MAJORITY of American's aren't buying this crap coming from the GOPers, no matter which way CNN and their Koch paid minions try to spin it.

    April 21, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. aaron in MN

    60plus.org is a front for Big Pharma. 60plus is linked to the GOP. 60plus' tax returns show no income from paid dues by members. Their largest contributer is big pharma. "don't look behind the curtain" – 60plus.org

    April 21, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. sara

    Hey Ryan, cut the deficits by cutting off the insurance lobbyist and help the Prez fix the entire "healthcare system" in America! Give your vouchers to the veterinarian, maybe it would cover the life long healthcare for your dog, not a human being. Cut the deficits by raising taxes to the 90"s level and STOP calling "small" business CORPORATIONS.. True "SMALL" business Does NOT hire the majority of Americans and they don't make over 250,000 a year. I am sick of you and the Republican Lies that's been floated and bought by so many stupid people.....thinking that you people are actually talking about THEM. I bet the "small" businessman havent' seen any difference in his profits to hire anybody other than a family member for decades, until President Obama took office. They got a tax break for real. Go straight to HELL and START cutting the Farm Subsidies to NON WORKING/PRODUCING Farmers!

    April 21, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. apib

    old, sick, poor............pay
    top 2%...........tax breaks

    good luck with that one on the election trail

    April 21, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. ...

    Are you sure you want to take advice from these folks?

    I dare you to Google "60 Plus" & see who these folks truly are & what they represent.

    You may be surprised by what you find...uber-wealthy elderly folks anyone?

    Funny how the only news links on the 60 Plus website are from Faux News.

    April 21, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. john

    Are these 60-plus folks really just the Koch brothers? Whoever they are, they are peddling a huge lie if they want people to believe that the Ryan plan isn't essentially the end of Medicare.

    April 21, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. GOP = Greed Over People

    Cut Medicare? Go ahead, ‘cuz you see, at 60 I got no dog in this hunt as I still get the “old” Medicare plan.

    I am trying out this new version of GOP “christianity”, the one that says “I have mine so screw you" to which the GOP base appears to be such loyal devotees.

    April 21, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. a little sad

    "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."

    Yeah, it saves medicare for the 60-Plus group. It save medicare for my three brothers, aged 55, 56 & 57.

    For me (53) not so much.

    I guess the two years less that I have been paying into the system makes me a freeloader.

    April 21, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Jake

    Look at this picture. Nice photo op. They went to their union printers and professionally printed 100 signs. How nice. Now that's real America. Bunch of goons told to carry a sign that was handed to them. The Dems probably paid the sign carriers to show up and carry the darn thing.
    Wake Up!!!! There isn't enough money to support all the entitlements. Like it or not...SS, Medicare, Defense Spending all need to be cut....Right now the Fed takes in $1.1T. We have a deficit of $1.6T. WE could double the amount of taxes collected and still be short ....Wake up.....

    April 21, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. peace

    man did you see the look on paul face at that town hall meeting. he thought those old people was fools like the old dumb hicks in mississippi and the other backwood states.

    April 21, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. Tim

    The delusion on this site is at an all time high. We can not afford to sustain Medicare and Medicaid, you can cry about taxing the rich more all you want but that will not put a tiny dent in the avalanche of entitlement spending nor will it stop these programs from bankrupting themselves in 10 years. People need to realize that we as a nation are not able to afford these entitlements. At some point they need to be changed. You may hate Ryan's plan but Obama's is equally if not more farcical and obviously politically motivated. It's not rational thought it's just worrying about 2012, pathetic. And the mindless keep on keeping on.

    April 21, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. MPeters

    I don't understand how it saves Medicare if it turns it into a voucher program. Unless it would require all insurance companies to offer (and compete for) a substantially equal coverage plan that is currently offered by Medicare for whatever the voucher's cost was. Otherwise, you are radically changing it from a all-inclusive insurance coverage to a "whatever coverage I can afford" insurance plan–something that CURRENT Medicare is NOT.

    So really, it changes Medicare to something completely NOT Medicare, and in effect allows for the same abuses of elderly people that we CREATED Medicare to address in the first place.

    And how in the hell is AARP "liberal"? WHAT!?

    April 21, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Pat

    60+ says AARP is a liberal organization? Is it because AARP sometimes agrees with some liberal positions? If so, when AARP agrees with some conservative positions, which they do, are they then considered conservative? Why is it that any organization that speaks the truth to power is labeled liberal?

    April 21, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Pat

    @gt: Less than 5% of AARP income comes from selling products such as insurance. And you don't have to buy those products to be an AARP member. AARP subsidizes their membership dues from those sales, so membership stays affordable for retired people. Seems like smart business practice to me – something our governments should learn.

    April 21, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. Lisa P

    Sure it preserves Medicare for "years to come" - ten years, to be exact. After that? "Who the hell cares? We got ours!" says 60 Plus. Not at all reassuring to this 51-year-old with a chronic health condition that would make it impossible to get insurance on the private market (thank you, state employee group health policy! I hope you're still there in fourteen-plus years! Heck, I wish you would cover everybody - we'd all be a lot better off!)

    April 21, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. Poser

    So the conservatives continue to spread the lie that the Ryan budget saves Medicare. A voucher to go and try to buy private insurance is not saving Medicare. It's ending it and replacing it with a plan that will cost seniors (and their kids) a ton of money because the vouchers won't even come close to covering the cost of premiums. Many seniors will simply be out of luck when they discover the cost of their insurance is more than these vouchers. The value of the vouchers compared to projected costs decreases over time by the way.

    I'm not a senior yet but think about this. Eventually everybody gets old and gets sick. Eventually everybody gets some kind of pre-existing condition. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit and seniors are expensive to cover because they get sick. Does anybody really think making seniors buy private insurance will save anybody money? We might lower our tax bill by a dollar but will increase our health insurance costs by two. That's not saving anything.

    April 21, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. For Once Could You Please Give The Whole Story . . .

    60 plus is a Koch funded conservative front group.

    April 21, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    "Here's a voucher, now go buy health insurance". What ? You're 65 & in bad health ? Nobody wants to insure you ? I can't believe that !

    "What do these people care? THEIR benefits are safe from change. It's the next generation that will have to deal with the GOP plan that forces seniors to hunt down and find companies that will cover them"

    "Talk about putting a strain on our kids. Those of us over 65 don't want our 45 or 50 year old children to have to lay out between $15,000 and $1,000,000 for medical care when they get sick. That's what it will amount to after one by-pass or one de-fibrilator is installed. Then, the insurance they've spent all their inheritance to buy will be cancelled."
    _______________________________________

    But... but... but... didn't your messiah's healthcare plan prevent insurance companies from cancelling you or denying pre-existing conditions? What you so worried about?

    Here's a fact – the cost of Medicare promised to American citizens is $76 TRILLION DOLLARS. That's far greater than the GDP OF THE ENTIRE WORLD. Something has to be done. Take your blinders off. I'm one of those who would fall into Ryan's plan. So guess what? I'll plan for it. You know... that whole "personal responsibility" thing you all detest so damn much.

    April 21, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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