WASHINGTON -- Democrats are ramping up their campaign to frame a couple dozen targeted Republicans and GOP leaders as enemies of Medicare, contending they lied when they promised to preserve the health care program.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is firing off a Web video today highlighting several of those Republicans, featuring footage of their promises in the 2010 campaign to save Medicare from the Democrats' health care overhaul.
At the time, Republicans seized on the plan to cut the privately run, government-funded Medicare Advantage by some $500 million, portraying it as an assault on Medicare. In Medicare Advantage, the government pays private insurers to deliver health services. Costs are typically higher than in Medicare program itself.
Nearly all Republicans voted earlier this month for a budget resolution that would shift all Americans 55 and under into a program where private insurers deliver Medicare services -- a plan that likely would resemble Medicare Advantage.
Among those singled out in the spot are Reps. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), all freshman members who rode fear of health care reform and alleged cuts to Medicare into office.
"SociaI Security and Medicare are a promise we made to our seniors, and I will keep that promise," Benishek says in an excerpt lifted from one of his own ads.
"I'll never put our seniors' future at risk," said Tipton in a similar clip. "No cuts, no privatization and no scaring our seniors."
"Cutting Medicare $500 million to pay for ObamaCare -- that's wrong," says Ellmers in one of her ads.
“House Republicans promised to protect Medicare. They lied,” the DCCC alleges in the script.
WATCH THE VIDEO
The DCCC is rolling out the new spot in spite of criticism from Politfact. The well-regarded fact-check team finds Democrats' claim of an impending, Republican-backed end to Medicare is not true. Politifact notes that budget resolutions are rarely carried through, and even under the recent resolution, there would still be some sort of a program called Medicare.
Democrats called Politifact's verdict splitting hairs, and noted that the plan in the budget resolution written by Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would replace Medicare with a federally subsidized private program. They also note that seniors expenses in the program would end up rising by more than $12,000 over 10 years, instead of the $6,000 they are expected to go up under current law.
Noted one Democratic strategist: "The only thing worse than voting to end Medicare would by getting caught on tape lying to your constituents about it."
The DCCC is also planning to release a document detailing the statements of all Republicans that it alleges lied in campaign ads.