Fallout from NY-26 election makes Dems gleeful, Republicans defensive

The results from the special congressional election in New York earlier this week have caused Democrats to feel that their political fortunes may be turning on the issues of the GOP proposal to revamp Medicare. Republicans are scrambling to refine their message.

Los Angeles Times: Democrats See Hope For 2012 In Medicare
After months on the political defensive, Democrats are convinced their fortunes have turned, and the reason can be summed up in a single word: Medicare. By swiping a reliably Republican congressional seat in upstate New York — after making Medicare the central issue in the campaign — Democrats underscored, again, a truism of American politics: Voters are all in favor of spending cuts and hard choices, so long as someone else is swallowing the bitter pill (Barabak and Hennessey, 5/25).

The Associated Press: Dems Rejoice Over NY; Will Medicare Redo 2012?
Jubilant Democrats demanded Republicans abandon their sweeping plans to remake Medicare on Wednesday after casting a House race in upstate New York as a referendum on the popular program and emerging victorious. … House Republicans made little if any attempt to demonstrate widespread support for their controversial proposal during the day. And the National Republican Congressional Committee offered no explanation for having let hundreds of thousands of dollars in Democratic-funded attacks on the proposed Medicare overhaul go unchallenged in its own television advertising (Espo, 5/25).

Los Angeles Times: Paul Ryan Blames Democrats For Distorting Medicare Plan In NY Election Loss
Reeling from a loss in what was considered a safe congressional district, Republicans insisted Wednesday that Democrat Kathy Hochul's victory in western New York was a fluke and not a sign that voters are restless over the party's aggressive stance on Medicare (Oliphant and Hennessey, 5/25).

The Fiscal Times: Bill Clinton Rips Ryan Plan At Fiscal Summit
Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that a controversial GOP plan to dramatically overhaul Medicare clearly was a factor in the Democrats' victory Tuesday in a House special election in a heavily Republican Western New York district. But he cautioned both parties not to use the outcome as an excuse to put off seeking ways to contain rapidly mounting government health care costs as part of a long-term debt reduction plan (Pianin, DePaul, Ross, 5/25).

Politico: Rep. Ryan Keeps Up Offensive
House GOP budget star Paul Ryan is keeping up his offensive against Democrats who claim their victory in a New York special election Tuesday night was a rebuke of his budget plan that overhauls Medicare. Democrats "are shamelessly demagoguing and distorting" Medicare, "trying to scare seniors and using this as a political weapon," Ryan said Tuesday morning at the Peterson Foundation Summit in Washington (Shiner, 5/25).

The Hill: Anxious GOP Vows To Improve Medicare Message After NY Loss
A day after a crushing defeat in a New York special election, House GOP lawmakers defended their vote to reform Medicare but grumbled that their leaders must do a better job of messaging. "If we'll just stay with our argument and do a better job developing it, we'll be fine," said Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), one of many Republicans blaming GOP candidate Jane Corwin's loss on the presence of a Tea Party candidate who siphoned away votes in a three-way race (Hooper and Berman, 5/26).

Politico: Is Any Medicare Reform Plan Political Suicide?
The New York special election raises a new question for lawmakers: Will any plan that tries to produce Medicare savings automatically become a potent political weapon? Republicans recaptured the House last year running on a platform that accused Democrats of slashing Medicare in their health reform law. Then Tuesday's win by Democrat Kathy Hochul in a solidly Republican district was seen as a strong rebuke of the GOP budget that changes the basic structure of Medicare (Millman, 5/26).

PBS NewsHour: The Bigger Message From NY-26
It isn't just that Hochul won, just as interesting is the counties she lost by close margins — particularly the small-town Service Worker Center counties that make up large swaths of the district. Her performance in those counties — Genesee, Livingston, Niagra, Orleans and Wyoming — combined with news from other similar places suggest the 2012 presidential race may be taking shape along 2008 lines, at least viewed from this moment in 2011. … First, they are not only small-town, lightly populated counties. Their populations tend to be older than average. They are the kinds of places, in other words, that may be upset about things like restructuring Medicare. Second, they have been hit hard by the recession and while people in them may understand the need for belt-tightening, they also may be less interested in tax cuts for the wealthy, which is another big part of Ryan's plan (Chinni, 5/25).

Fox News: Dem House Win Kills Entitlement Reform Hopes
Democrats are exultant over their win in the Republican-rich 26th District in Western New York not just because it breaks a long season of defeat for the party, but because it vindicates the Democratic plan to bash Republicans for suggesting changes to Medicare. It took a massive push by the national party and the presence on the ballot of a Tea Party candidate of dubious extraction to make it happen, but Democrats proved that they could make Republicans pay the price for endorsing any alterations in Medicare (Stirewalt, 5/25).

Kaiser Health News: Conservative Senior Group Comes Up Short In NY Race
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, Marilyn Werber Serafini and Bara Vaida write about the conservative advocacy group, 60 Plus: "If 60 Plus' goal was to inoculate Corwin from attacks on the Medicare issue, the effort failed badly. Corwin was beaten soundly by Democratic opponent Kathy Hochul, partly because of voter fears about House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's proposal to sharply transform Medicare" (Serafini and Vaida, 5/25).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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