House Republicans appear to have thwarted Democratic attack on Medicare

The Hill: Medicare Fades As 'Majority-Maker' Issue For House Dems
Attacking Paul Ryan's Medicare plan -; once seen as the most potent weapon in House Democrats' campaign arsenal -; is turning out to be a dud. Democratic leaders have hit Medicare harder than any other issue for more than a year, even calling Ryan's plan a "majority-maker." But with Election Day just around the corner, Democrats are looking at pickups in the single digits -; far short of the 25 seats they would need to retake the House. Medicare simply hasn't become the powerful tool that Democrats -; and even many Republicans -; expected. ... Rather than debating Ryan's budget in specific detail, Republicans launched a Medicare attack of their own, accusing Democrats of "robbing" $716 billion from Medicare to pay for President Obama's healthcare law (Baker, 11/3).

Bloomberg: House Democrats Not Getting Medicare Traction They Sought
New York Democrat Kathy Hochul won her U.S. House seat in 2011 by attacking a Republican plan to partially privatize Medicare. This year she is emphasizing trade, jobs and the economy in her re-election campaign. For Hochul and fellow House Democrats such as Mark Critz of Pennsylvania, the Republican plan to offer private insurance for future Medicare recipients isn't providing the same political mileage that helped Hochul win in a special election. The Hochul and Critz races are rated "tossup" by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report (Rowley, 11/2). 

The Associated Press: GOP Likely To Hold House After $1B Campaign
You can do a lot with a billion dollars -; but still not change much. This Election Day, it's likely to produce another Republican-led House that's little different from the existing version. ... In districts from one ocean to the other, Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to gut Medicare, the popular health insurance program for the elderly, and slice domestic programs like education while seeking tax cuts for the rich. They've also accused them of attacking women's rights with measures to curb abortion and cut funds for Planned Parenthood. ... The GOP has lambasted Democrats for supporting President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and other big spending programs like Obama's economic stimulus package. Democrats also are accused of cutting Medicare themselves and boosting taxes on the middle class (Fram, 11/3). 

Chicago Tribune: GOP Congressmen In Heated Suburban Races Forced To Defend Votes On Ryan Budget Plan
While the GOP focuses on Obama's record in a presidential election year, Republican incumbents in three closely contested suburban congressional races have found themselves having to defend their own voting records -; in particular the budget plan offered by their vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan. ... Democrats contend Republicans are trying to end the "guarantee" of Medicare and replace it with a voucher system. Republicans argue that Medicare will go broke in 2024 without changes. The GOP also says those who are 55 will have the current system, while those age 54 and younger can choose between traditional Medicare or a taxpayer subsidy to buy their own health care. But the nuance, particularly in the highly partisan-charged atmosphere of a campaign, can get lost in semantics (Pearson, 11/3).

Meanwhile, in the presidential campaign, a new poll finds Republicans are doing well among older voters with their arguments about Medicare.

Reuters: Older Voters Prefer Romney On Healthcare, Medicare: Reuters/Ipsos poll
As early voting proceeds across the country ahead of Tuesday's presidential election, voters over 50 continue to be more likely than most to prefer Republican challenger Mitt Romney to President Barack Obama and to favor Romney's position on two issues that directly affect the elderly: healthcare and Medicare. While Friday's Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll saw the candidates at an effective dead heat among all likely voters, older likely voters preferred Romney 51 percent to 43 percent during the week ending November 4 (Debenedetti, 11/2).

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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