Updated 9:24 a.m. ET, 12/4/2013
Washington (CNN) – As President Obama and Democrats try to salvage the reputation of the Affordable Care Act, a national Republican group will hit 12 Democrats–all running in Senate elections next year–over changes to Medicare.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee will highlight Wednesday the candidates' support for the federal health care law, better known as Obamacare, and what Republicans call $717 billion in cuts to the popular entitlement program that guarantees health insurance to seniors.
Democrats defending the program, however, say the changes aren't cuts, but savings of projected costs of Medicare over the next 10 years.
The $717 billion figure comes from a Congressional Budget Office report that measured the impact of repealing the health care law. The figure was a big campaign issue during the 2012 presidential election.
The report says that under the repeal measure, "Spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013-2022 period." Those spending increases would be a result of more spending on hospital and medical insurance, offset by a decrease in prescription drug coverage.
The report also notes that the projected increase in Medicare spending if the measure is repealed does not signal a more-than $700 billion decrease if the measure stays in place.
But the NRSC will hammer the Democratic candidates in a news release for "deceiving seniors (by) using their old and discredited MediScare playbook."
The release will go out to states where the following candidates are either running to keep their Senate seats or running in open elections for the Senate: Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas; Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska; Sen. Kay Hagan, D-North Carolina; Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana; Rep. Gary Peters, D-Michigan; Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa; Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado; Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico; Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois; Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire; Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon; and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota.
A spokesman from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee responded to the attack on Wednesday, saying "Republicans all voted for the exact same measure they are attacking in the (Rep. Paul) Ryan budgets."
Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has put out budgets that included a plan to move Medicare to private insurance companies and give seniors voucher-like credits to choose between Medicare and a private company. That plan would also include more than $700 billion in cost savings, and it was passed by House Republicans.
"The fact is only Republican Senate candidates like Bill Cassidy in Louisiana, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, and Tom Cotton in Arkansas have advocated for dangerous plans that would actually cut Medicare benefits for seniors, and that is certainly to be a huge concern for voters in 2014," Matt Canter, deputy executive director for the DSCC, said in a statement.