The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is out today with a new advertisement targeting freshman Republican House members from districts that had previously elected Democrats. The ad juxtaposes campaign ads and appearances from last year's election, when the GOP candidates said they'll protect Medicare for seniors, with those representatives' votes this month to "end Medicare." Watch below:
The ad ends, "Tell Speaker Boehner: Protect Medicare. Don't betray seniors."
The legislation that the DCCC claims would "end Medicare" is House Concurrent Resolution 34, also known as the House GOP budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2012. It is Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" budget plan. The claim that congressmen Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), Pat Meehan (R-Penn.), Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.), and others voted to end Medicare is difficult to defend. So is the assertion that the vote "betrays seniors."
As Congressman Ryan's proposal outlines, the plan does not make any changes to Medicare benefits for current seniors nor for anyone who is 55 or over. The reforms are only for those citizens under the age of 55, who upon reaching Medicare eligibility (starting in 2022) would have a choice of "guaranteed coverage" plans subsidized by Medicare. Ryan calls the concept "premium support," while detractors have called it a "voucher program." Either way, it is misleading and false to say the budget House Republicans voted to "end Medicare."
Democrats have been focusing on this line of attack since the House voted for the budget, though the campaign does not seem to have been too successful so far. Republicans still poll better than Democrats on the general topic of budgeting, and seniors, in fact, prefer the Ryan plan to President Obama's. Then again, if the DCCC spends on this campaign the same amount as it did on the last one (a few hundred dollars per state), don't count on it having too much impact.