Lawmakers clash over franked mail that criticized House GOP plan for Medicare

Some Democratic House members who have had constituent mailings held up because of proposed GOP revisions to soften the message are accusing the Republican majority of censoring their mail. GOP leaders counter that the Dems are abusing their franked mail privileges to send out political attacks on the Ryan plan to revamp Medicare.

Connecticut Mirror: GOP Censors Courtney's Franked Mail On Medicare As 'Political Propaganda'
Rep. Joe Courtney's staff recently put the finishing touches on a piece of government mail that sharply criticizes the House Republicans' Medicare plan. But GOP officials have told the Connecticut Democrat that he can't send it out to his constituents unless he softens the barbs in the piece. On Tuesday, Courtney, D-2nd District, and four other House Democrats who've also had Medicare mailers held up because of proposed GOP revisions, sent a caustic letter to House Speaker John Boehner, accusing the GOP majority of "politically motivated censorship" when it comes to descriptions of the Republican Medicare plan. ... House Republicans, in turn, say Democrats are abusing their franked-mail privileges to launch exaggerated political attacks (Shesgreen, 6/15).

The Hill: House Democrats Say GOP Censoring Medicare Mailings
House Democrats on Wednesday charged House Republicans with trying to censor outgoing Democratic mailings that criticize the Republican plan to change the Medicare program. During a speech on the House floor, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) on Wednesday ripped Republicans for "blatant and transparent censorship" (Kasperowicz, 6/15).

In the meantime, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., gives voters his tough take on GOP efforts to overhaul the Medicare program -

Nevada Appeal: Reid Says GOP Medicare Plan Would Deny Nevada Seniors Care
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday the GOP's "reckless" plan to end Medicare would deny Nevada seniors quality care while costing them thousands more each year. In a phone interview, Reid said the plan would put "insurance company bureaucrats in charge of seniors' health care, allowing insurers to deny treatment and decide which doctor Nevada seniors use." "They're ideologues about this budget stuff," he said. "We all know we have to rein in spending but we can't do it by putting the insurance company between patient and physician" (Dornan, 6/16).

And, in other news related to politics and Medicare, the Connecticut Mirror reports on how Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., created a buzz with his own Medicare plan -   

Connecticut Mirror: On Medicare, Lieberman Is A Gang Of One
With his sweeping Medicare proposal, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman has shown he maintains a knack for generating political buzz and drawing fire, from pundits and politicians. First came the scathing column by the Nobel-Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. "Every once in a while a politician comes up with an idea that's so bad, so wrongheaded, that you're almost grateful," ... "I think Joe is a fine senator, and it's a terrible idea," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate's No. 2 leader and a key player in the current congressional budget talks. "Could I be any clearer?" (Shesgreen, 6/15).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from 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.

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