Campaign battle over Medicare heats up
April 19th, 2011
11:04 AM ET
12 years ago

Campaign battle over Medicare heats up

Washington (CNN) - It shouldn't be any surprise that national Democrats are targeting 25 House Republicans who they say "voted to end Medicare."

It's all about an extremely important voting group: Senior citizens.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Tuesday that it's launching a paid advertising campaign against 25 Republican lawmakers who they consider vulnerable in next year's elections. The DCCC says their new push consists of radio ads, live and automated phone calls, web ads and over 4.5 million "action alert" e-mails.

One of the news-weather-traffic radio ads asks "Did you know Congressman Chip Cravaack voted to end Medicare, forcing seniors to pay $12,500 for private health insurance, without guaranteed coverage? Tell Cravaack to keep his hands off our Medicare."

Besides Cravaack of Minnesota, the DCCC is also targeting congressmen Dan Lungren of California, Scott Tipton of Colorado, Daniel Webster, Bill Young, Vern Buchanan, Tom Rooney, Allen West, and Dan Rivera of Florida, Tom Latham and Steve King of Iowa, Bobby Schilling of Illinois, Larry Buschon of Indiana, Dan Benishek and Fred Upton of Michigan, Charlie Bass of New Hampshire, Ann Marie Buerkle of New York, Steve Chabot of Ohio, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Francisco Canseco of Texas and Paul Ryan and Sean Duffy of Wisconsin.

The new push is part of the committee's "Drive for 25" campaign, which focuses on capturing 25 GOP House seats in 2012, which would give the Democrats control of the chamber that they lost in last year's midterm elections.

All 25 lawmakers last week voted in favor of the House Republican's 2012 budget proposal, which was put together by Ryan, the chairman of the budget committee.

The DCCC is also trying to fundraise off the campaign, saying that if $25,000 is raised over the next 48 hours, the web video would be the DCCC's first paid ad this cycle.

Hours after the announcement of the DCCC's campaign, the National Republican Congressional Committee fired back.

"The Democrats' shameless scare tactics are merely a way to mislead voters and cover up the real Democrat plan to watch Medicare die a painful death, an unacceptable option for America's seniors," NRCC Deputy Communications Director Joanna Burgos tells CNN. "The reality is that the Republican budget blueprint saves Medicare for future generations with no disruption for those in and near retirement, while the Democrats' plan cuts Medicare benefits and raises taxes on job creators and every person who receives a paycheck."

The battle over Medicare should be a hot topic as the 2012 election cycle heats up. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted in January indicated that more than eight in ten said preventing cuts in Medicare was more important than reducing the deficit, with 18 percent saying that deficit reduction outweighed preventing cuts in Medicare.

Voters 65 and older cast more ballots 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: DCCC • Medicare
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. TEXAN

    I`m over 65 and still work full time. However, I can`t help feel the Repubs want all RETIRED senior citizens ( except rich ones) to just die off quickly, thereby, solving the medicare and social security problems. --This would free up more money for more tax cuts and the defense industry– now wouldn`t it !!!!

    April 19, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. NVa Native

    Repubs want to turn everything over to their masters – the CEOs of corporations. The Repubs claim that's what will serve us better – this fantasy of free market looking out for the American public. There is nothing free about "the market", it's all about profit for their masters.
    Does anyone want a for-profit middle man dictating to you what medical procedure or medicine you can have or not have as it relates to their company's profit? The Repubs want to insert "death & profit panels" into the current healthcare medi-care system. The Repubs have always wanted to destroy medi-care/medi-caid.

    April 19, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Marjee123

    Seems to me the republicans just love to talk out of the back of their head. WHO IS TRYING TO CUT MEDICARE. WHO IS TRYING TO FORM REAL DEATH PANELS. The republicans that's who. Where in the world do you think most seniors would be able to get health coverage, unless they paid over 20,000 or more a year. With their heart trouble, high blood pressure, diatetis, arthritis etc etc. All seniors don't have all those things but these are the illness that would stop them from getting health care. And we know who is sitting their butts on those DEATH PANELS, the republicans that's who.

    So no matter how the corporate owned republican MSM try to spin it, we see and we take notice of who voted to end Medicare. THE REPUBLICANS THAT'S WHO.

    April 19, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Here's an idea .... how about we only cover people who are born here (and this doesn't include anchor babies) or who came here legally. How come this never enters the equation of why AMERICA is going broke? Time to send these burdens back to their own country. The taxpayer is sick of having to take care of everyone elses citizens while our country goes broke and our own citizens suffer. This is ridiculous.

    April 19, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Pete

    Well said texan

    April 19, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. I went to a Tea Party Rally in 2009, when I thought they were trying to get Obama's hands off my medicare . . .

    Looks like a got a bit confused as to who wanted to protect medicare and who wanted to gut it.

    April 19, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. rs

    That Repulican/Tea Party members want to give the obscenely rich another obscene tax break at the cost of taking away Medicare from the poor and elderly tells you how incredibly radicalized and out-of-touch they have become with our values. Their policies are detrimental to America, and have NOTHING to do with fixing the deficit or debt- it's all about class warfare against the middle class.

    April 19, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. Seattle Sue

    Isn't it just like the greedy senior citizens to want to deny the wealthy more tax cuts just so the seniors can survive. That's not my view but the view of GOP/TP, I truly believe most of them would like to see the seniors pass away and quit being a drain on their wealth.

    April 19, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. solla44

    If the Repubs bill does not effect anyone under the age of 55, how does it help cut the deficit over the next 10 years. They are projecting a $6 trillion cut over the next 10 years, correct?

    April 19, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. edog

    Hey Anonymous!!!

    You are ridiculous. Do you not realize immigrants who are not yet citizens and are working also pays taxes!!! Visitors with working VISA's who are not citizens also pay taxes!! Get informed before you spout off.

    April 19, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Martha in CF

    No one has the right to complain about anything if they don't get out and VOTE.....That is what happened in 2010 and it is because you stayed home and didn't VOTE.......
    The Republicans are the ones who put us in this mess we are in. No doubt about it.............
    Just think though, every time there is some kind of destructionin the US--we cry to the government to bail us out and hand over aid. Should this stop?

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 19, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    The Ryan plan to "reform" Medicare was dead on arrival. He seems to have totally forgotten ( or maybe he hopes that general public has forgotten) the reason why Medicare was created in the first place. It was created to provide health insurance to the "uninsurable", as defined by heath insurance industry. Nobody wanted to cover seniors, who have the highst health care costs.

    The Democrats need a plan that combats the cause of rising costs of Medicare, which are the rising costs of health care. Wasn't that what the Afforadable Care Act was supposed to do? If the Republicans want to fight over Medicare and ignore job creation, which they promised to do during the 2010 election campaigns, I say let them fight over it all over again. The people want jobs first and foremost.

    April 19, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. michaelCO

    OK, so which is it – Either the Republicans think all Democrats are Socialists and want everyone on medicare and similar systems or is it like they are now saying that Democrats want medicare to "die a painful death". It seems like the story changes depending on the talking points that week. It also seems to be dependent on who they are talking to. When talking to the Tea Party, the line is end all socialist programs, including social security, medicare, medicaid, etc, but leave corporate welfare alone. Then when talking to Seniors, it seems to be a new message to convince them that they are the only ones trying to save the prgrams. Which is it?

    April 19, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. PalmReader

    "The reality is that the Republican budget blueprint saves Medicare for future generations with no disruption for those in and near retirement, "

    Actually, the Republican budget doesn't save Medicare at all. It GUTS it completely.

    April 19, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Republicans ending Medicare? Nobody needs to do this as Medicare is ending itself. It will be bankrupt in 9 years or we will go bankrupt keeping the way it is. The Republican plan is to KEEP IT THE SAME FOR PEOPLE ALREADY IN THE PLAN AND CLOSE TO RETIREMENT. Any changes are made gradually to new enrollees over time.

    The Democrats just continue to lie to the American people and play games with our future. They refuses to accept reality and the reality is this country cannot afford the welfare state they have built for us. Did you see they are lowering or planning to lower our credit rating??!!

    In 2012, the Democrats must be thrown out of office enmasse if this country is to have even the slightest chance of surviving financially and economically.

    April 19, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. Chipster

    Someone PLEASE tell the Republicans that Medicare is called an entitlement because we paid into the plan for 35 or 45 years – we ARE ENTITLED to the benefits! I've worked for over 40 years, paying for my benefits the entire time. For that, I may receive about $1400 per month when I retire next year! Many seniors don't even receive that much. What have members of Congress done to deserve the huge benefits they will get when they leave office, including their health care plan at our expense? I'm sick of the GOP and their corporate welfare programs!

    April 19, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Daniel

    Republicans would like to cut off Medicare and social security to save money to pay for attorneys to defend a bigoted idea DOMA. Get rid of the elderly, tax the middle and poor, more tax breaks for the uber rich, eliminate foreigners, and irradicate minorities and gays. These are the values of the Christian republican tea baggers. Oh I am so proud of what they have become. It shows how I appreciate others so much more that do not believe in this garbage. May God save the souls of these repugs.

    April 19, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Four and The Door

    Get real. Republicans are not proposing to get rid of Medicare. They are proposing to restructure it so that it works better than it is working right now. Will the Democrats actually come out and say that the way Medicare is being run right now it is the very best we can do?!?! I hope not. We can do better for everyone. But we have to put in the effort to get there.

    April 19, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. lgny

    The fundamental problem with the Ryan plan is that it fails to address the underlying problem - the rapid rise in medical care costs. His plan depends solely on "market discipline" to control rising costs. It essentially holds to the premise that when individuals pay a substantial out-of-pocket cost for medical services then they will push the providers to keep their costs down. It's classic conservative dogma, but largely untested in the medical world.

    For a more intelligent analysis of the voucher option, read the Bipartisan Planning Center plan (do a Google search). It advocates the same Medicare change as Ryan but also includes reforms to reduce medical costs - including support for several measures in the original Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare). It's still questionable whether vouchers (technically, insurance subsidies) is a good move, but the BPC plan does it more intelligently than Ryan's.

    April 19, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. starsunbriar

    The Republican hypocrisy is astounding. Going from accusing Obama of harming Medicare with "death panels" during the health care debate... to trying to actually end Medicare themselves the first chance they get.

    I can assure you that the last election was not about ending Medicare or tax breaks for the rich.

    April 19, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Bill

    The Ryan "plan" is a gift to the democrats and will result in a takeover of the House next year. Thanks, Paulie!

    April 19, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. John

    Hands off my medicare screams the did that get to be your medicare? Oh yeah, you are wanting other people to pay money for your health care, housing, schooling, retirement...all those things you are "entitled" to. Here is a neat idea...capping the payout of medicare at what you paid into it! Then you can walk around with that sign and not be a liar or thief.

    April 19, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Steve in Denver

    Hmmm – four and the door. I see all kinds of seniors, miliatry, and your congressional reps bailing out of medicare and government run health insurance because it is so bad. NOT.

    Only two of the freshman republicans elected not to take their government health plan.

    And, if the free market is so great, why do I, at age 55, have to go into medicare, while my brother, age 54, gets to fend for himself with a piddly voucher? Why, if your plan is so great, not "allow" all seniors, retired, close to retirement, etc, have the same plan?

    If the free market is so great, why don't you neocon free market buffoons set up shop in Somolia? No medicare, no EPA, no public liberal education, no taxes. If the free market is so wonderful, how come Somolia isn't a thriving place?

    April 19, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    You say Democrat Party, then I will say Grand Old Tea Party.

    There is no such thing as Obamacare. Obamacare is frightening, ugly, and something that I don't ever want to see become law in this country.

    There is such a thing as the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is something that can help retard rising health care and health insurance costs.

    The GOP wants you to believe that you can buy insurance cheaper in another state. First, you need to get to that "other" state. Second, if the price is cheaper in another state, what makes you think they will drop the price in your state to match? The GOP seems to think so. They also seem to think that the other state would not raise its' price to match your state; this, despite the fact that the insurance offered in both states are being offered-and priced-by the same company.

    DUH! How dumb can you become?

    April 19, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. azmary

    Turning the Republican "medicare" plan over to private insurance with no restrictions on who the insurers can deny coverage to is basically saying retirees will be paying a lot more for health care, and if their provider wants to drop them, too bad, just like they do with medicare advantage, and medicare part D now. Some projections estimate it will cost each person covered, about 70% of their income for health care as compared to the 30% under the current plan.

    April 19, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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