Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

September 5, 2009

DID REPUBLICANS REALLY VOTE TO 'KILL' MEDICARE?.... Republicans have decided this is their chance -- they can run scary Medicare ads, counting on some baseless demagoguery to scare seniors away from health care reform and Democrats.

Due respect to the RNC, but Democrats have been running scary Medicare ads since before running scary Medicare ads was cool.

In a new DNC ad unveiled late yesterday, Democrats are reminding seniors of the GOP's recent history on the subject. "Republicans want to end Medicare," the ad narrator explains. "You heard right, Republicans actually voted to abolish Medicare for future generations -- one of the most important programs for seniors.

"America's seniors have relied on Medicare for over 40 years -- and Democrats are working to strengthen Medicare. But the plain truth is, Republicans have opposed Medicare from the start. Their leaders have called for cutting Medicare -- and now for killing it. The Republican Party -- No Friend of Seniors."

Is the ad true? Actually, yes. Most Republicans really did "oppose Medicare from the start." As recently as the 1996 presidential campaign, Bob Dole bragged about having voted against the original bill. And for years, GOP leaders have "called for cutting Medicare." Indeed, the McCain/Palin platform called for significant cuts to the popular program.

But did Republicans vote to "end," "abolish," and "kill" Medicare? It's provocative, but it's a supportable claim. In April, 137 Republicans voted in support of a GOP alternative budget. It didn't generate a lot of attention, but the plan, drafted by the House Budget Committee's Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called for "replacing the traditional Medicare program with subsidies to help retirees enroll in private health care plans."

The AP noted at the time that Republican leaders were "clearly nervous that votes in favor of the GOP alternative have exposed their members to political danger."

And the DNC's new ad shows that those concerns were justified.

The more Republicans press Dems on Medicare, the more we're likely to hear about the fact that a majority of the House Republican Caucus voted this year to kill Medicare as we know it, privatizing it out of existence.

Steve Benen 10:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I've long said that "Republicans are liars and Democrats stupid," but this is smart. Fight demagoguery with demagoguery. Shout back at the shouting. Give as good as you get. There are times when "Obama-ian" coolness just doesn't work.

I would press this. Hard. Over and over. Make it a talking point. Have every Democrat scream it on the talk shows. Put Republicans on the defensive. Have them argue for Medicare; for a government-run health program.

Posted by: sjw on September 5, 2009 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Why, in God's name, is our "hearing about" it dependent on whether or not Repuglicans "press Democrats"????? Shouldn't it just be something people should HEAR ABOUT??? Or wouldn't that stand up to the cordiality rampant in what passes for the INSTITUTION OF OUR LEGISLATORS?

Posted by: Dancer on September 5, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'm cool with it. It's succinct, provocative, and defensible. More like this, please.

Posted by: dob on September 5, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

It may be a good strategy to remind folks that Republicans would like to kill Medicare, but Republicans have been fairly effective in convincing the same folks with the odd notion that Obama somehow wants to turn Medicare into a government program.

Posted by: qwerty on September 5, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK


McCain Plans Federal Health Cuts - Wall St. Journal 10/6/08

Posted by: mr. irony on September 5, 2009 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

OK, it's true, but you can't really tell that from the unsupported claims in the comm'l. Not really different from "Panic! Emergency! Obamacare will require death panels!" I realise you have to relay the information in a very simple condensed way, but I think they should have left out a general claim or two in favor of actual specifics.

Posted by: emjayay on September 5, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

"But did Republicans vote to "end," "abolish," and "kill" Medicare? It's provocative, but it's a supportable claim. In April, 137 Republicans voted in support of a GOP alternative budget. It didn't generate a lot of attention, but the plan, drafted by the House Budget Committee's Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called for "replacing the traditional Medicare program with subsidies to help retirees enroll in private health care plans."

I'm astounded to learn, for the first time, about Ryan's idea of replacement of Medicare with subsidies. Why wasn't this all over the NEWS!!!???!!! Instead, now we get to see crazy folks shouting to keep government "out of my Medicare," and all the other nonsense that passes for debate. Once again, the MSM has utterly failed to inform the American people of the truth, always preferring the "spectacle."

Posted by: winddancer on September 5, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

If outing the Republicans for trying to kill Medicare is "succinct, provocative, and defensible", then Obama should drive this point home again and again and again and again and again in his speech next Wednesday. Oh, then mention it again in his closing remarks. Hopefully by then the nation, other than the Fox knuckle-draggers, will learn "about the fact that a majority of the House Republican Caucus voted this year to kill Medicare as we know it, privatizing it out of existence".

Posted by: Bartender on September 5, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

I'm astounded to learn, for the first time, about Ryan's idea of replacement of Medicare with subsidies. Why wasn't this all over the NEWS!!!???!!!

Didn't fit the story arc. Coverage of national policy debates is crafted according to the finest traditions of the entertainment industry, and it is difficult sometimes to adjust it to reflect what actually happens.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on September 5, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

You write/conclude: "In April, 137 Republicans voted in support of a GOP alternative budget.... the plan, drafted by the House Budget Committee's Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called for "replacing the traditional Medicare program with subsidies to help retirees enroll in private health care plans" ... The more Republicans press Dems on Medicare, the more we're likely to hear about the fact that a majority of the House Republican Caucus voted this year to kill Medicare as we know it, privatizing it out of existence."

Two points. First, I'm all for bashing the Repubs with reminders such as this, but it should be followed up by noting that they are now trying to present themselves as the great defenders of Medicare! Obama (who isn't getting much credit on the left these days) has maneuvered the Repubs in the last few weeks into endorsing what they've opposed for over 40 years! This is the double-whammy point that needs to be driven home. This is a debate ender!

Second, as I've noted in response to another of your posts below, I'm wondering if we are missing an opportunity here. I'm wondering if the Repubs are close to being maneuvered into supporting an American version of the German/Swiss/French system in which insurance is private, but (the Repubs don't know it yet) non-profit and tightly regulated. Heck, maybe they do: you've got Mike Pence on record as favoring "essentially government controlled and government dictated" private insurance and Ryan on record as favoring "subsidies"!

As I said below, let's nail the Repubs down on this: they now FAVOR Medicare (why not for all if it's so good for seniors?) and they now FAVOR a system of "essentially government controlled and government dictated" private insurance for everyone else (so why not for seniors as well if that's the way they want to go -- it works pretty well for the Germans, Swiss, etc.).

Let's have a serious debate, with these choices: (1) Medicare (which the Repubs now favor) for all, (2) "essentially government controlled and government dictated" private insurance (which Repubs in person of Pence now favor) for everybody (and don't forget those "subsidies"), or (3) Medicare for seniors (which we've already got and which everybody, even the Repubs, now favors) plus "essentially government controlled and government dictated" private insurance for everyone else (which Repubs favor and which Dems could accept, especially with those "subsidies").

This will be a good debate. This is the point to which President Obama has brought us -- if we (and he) choose to frame it this way.

Posted by: CMcC on September 5, 2009 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm wondering if we are missing an opportunity here. "
CMcC on September 5, 2009 at 2:03 PM

No "wondering" about it.
The Dem's are exactly as Abba Eban once described the PLO: "they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

Posted by: smartalek on September 6, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Bartender, this wasn't a proposal to "privatize" Medicare but to abolish it. Providing subsidies to buy private insurance isn't a different version of Medicare, it's just something completely else.

It's also something completely stupid. How much does a comprehensive policy for, say, a 70-year old with hypertension and a bad hip go for these days on the individual insurance market?

Posted by: SqueakyRat on September 6, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) offered an amendment on July 30th that would eliminate government-run Medicare. Not a single member of the House, including 57 Republicans, voted for the amendment.

Posted by: Alan on September 6, 2009 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Healthcare Reform 2009 is the New Social Security.
Healthcare Reform 2009 is the New Medicare.

Don't let Republicans kill healthcare reform this year!

Posted by: MarkH on September 6, 2009 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats might finally have woken up and decided to fight back?

The Democrats should go on the offensive and scare the hell out of Seniors by using the Republican OWN words about getting rid of "Government Run Healthcare" and remind every Senior that Medicare IS Government Run Healthcare and the Republicans want to take away every Senior Citizens coverage and make then fend for themselves.

Posted by: Rob on September 9, 2009 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly