Congressional leaders plan to make the most of this election-year Medicare debate

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, urged his fellow Republicans to "play offense" on the issue while their Democratic counterparts plan to keep the heat on.    

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Boehner Urges House GOP To Go On Offense Over Medicare Issue
Speaker John Boehner is urging rank-and-file House Republicans to go on offense over Medicare as Democrats argue that the GOP presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would end the government-run health care program that seniors have embraced for decades (8/16).

The Hill: Boehner Tells GOP It Can Play Offense On Medicare With Ryan On The Ticket
Speaker John Boehner insisted Republicans can "play offense" on Medicare with Rep. Paul Ryan as the party's vice-presidential candidate during a during a Tuesday night conference call with House Republicans. Boehner (R-Ohio) told his conference that Republicans were going to be attacked on Medicare regardless of Ryan's selection, according to a source familiar with the routine weekly call with leadership and rank-and-file. "The pundits are buzzing that with Paul on the ticket, the Democrats are going to attack us on Medicare. Well, here's a news flash: they were gonna do that anyway," Boehner told House Republicans on the call, according to a source familiar with the conversation (Hooper, 8/15).

Reuters: Republicans Gambling In Taking Medicare Issue Head-On
Faced with Democratic Party assaults on vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, Republicans have made the political calculation that a counter-attack can preserve support among senior citizens who could sway the November election's outcome. "Democrats are asking for it," Mike Shields, political director at the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a memo to party operatives on Monday, just days after presidential hopeful Mitt Romney announced Ryan as his running mate (Morgan, 8/15).

Politico: House Dems Huddle On Medicare
After Speaker John Boehner roused his GOP conference to aggressively head off Democratic attacks on Paul Ryan, House Democrats had their own huddle to urge its members to keep the heat on Republicans over Medicare. On a conference call Wednesday afternoon, Democratic lawmakers discussed Boehner's remarks and the charges that Mitt Romney and Ryan – the GOP's newly anointed vice-presidential pick – have lobbed against President Barack Obama and Democrats over their health-care law, according to an aide (Kim, 8/15).

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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