The National Republican Congressional Committee will launch a three-week ad buy this Friday against Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, blasting his purported support of healthcare budgeting that the GOP says will let Medicare “go bankrupt.”
It’s clearly an effort to push back against criticisms leveled in recent weeks against House Republicans, whose budget plan calls for changing Medicare from a government-run system into a private subsidy or voucher system in which senior citizens would buy private health insurance.
Here’s the script:
Who do you trust with personal health care decisions? Your own doctor.
But if Jerry McNerney gets his way, that could change.
McNerney and President Obama’s Medicare plan empowers bureaucrats to interfere with doctors, risking seniors’ access to treatment.
Now, Obama’s budget plan lets Medicare go bankrupt: that’d mean big cuts to benefits.
Tell McNerney to stop bankrupting Medicare.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.
NRCC spokesman Tyler Houlton said McNerney’s 11th Congressional District is the only one in which such an ad is being launched; it’ll air in the San Francisco and Sacramento markets, but Houlton said he didn’t have information on the cost.
“While the Republican plan preserves and protects Medicare for future generations, the Democrats’ plan will lead to severe cuts in benefits for seniors and drastic tax increases in the coming years.” Houlton said. “Democrats already gutted $500 billion from Medicare when they passed the trillion dollar government takeover of healthcare, and they won’t hesitate to do it again.”
But the ad’s claims seem shaky. FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan project of Annenburg Public Policy Center, last week debunked the claim that President Obama’s budget proposal commits seniors to bureaucratically rationed health care: The new health care law states that the advisory board to which Republicans have referred “shall not include any recommendation to ration health care” and is to consist primarily of doctors, economists and other outside experts, not Washington bureaucrats.
FactCheck.org also refuted the claim that healthcare reforms recently enacted won’t improve Medicare’s finances: It does, though experts worry some cost controls won’t be fully implemented. Meanwhile, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget keeps in place some of those same cost controls.
And as for the Medicare-is-going-bankrupt claim, FactCheck.org tackled that one last month. Only Medicare Part A – covering inpatient hospital services and hospice care – is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to be exhausted in 2020 (or in 2029, according to the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees), just as it was projected to be in 1972 and again in 1994.
“Politicians keep finding ways to postpone any insolvency,” FactCheck.org wrote. “We don’t mean to downplay Medicare’s financial challenges, but the whole system isn’t going ‘bankrupt,’ as Ryan’s claim suggests.”
McNerney spokeswoman Sarah Hersh, to whom I provided the script this evening, called it “one more misleading and baseless attack from Washington Republicans who are themselves currently trying to end Medicare for seniors and keep tax loopholes open for huge corporations that ship American jobs overseas.”
UPDATE @ 1:02 P.M. SATURDAY: Much ado about almost nothing? A credible source tells me the NRCC is spending $4,500 on the ad campaign being broadcast on Fox News from May 20 to June 2; the total includes $1,300 for the buy in the Sacramento area and $3,200 in the Tri Valley area cable.