FactCheck: Dueling Medicare Ads

Friday, Aug 31, 2012  |  Updated 1:49 PM EDT
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FactCheck: Dueling Medicare Ads

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This report is based on work by our partners at FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan project of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.


On the topic of Medicare, both sides of the presidential campaign have come down with a bad case of "Mediscare," according to FactCheck.org.

They are two separate ads, from separate sides, but both include alarming messages for seniors.

"What both sides are doing here is engaging in what we're calling 'Mediscare' -- trying to scare senior citizens into thinking Medicare will be ended, or so significantly changed that they won't recognize it anymore. Or it's going to cost them a lot more money," said Eugene Kiely, deputy director of FactCheck.org.

Watch the Obama ad below:

The Obama spot claims the Paul Ryan plan for Medicare will cost seniors big bucks.

From the ad:

Announcer: AARP says it would undermine Medicare, and could lead to higher cost for seniors. And experts say Ryan's voucher plan could raise future retirees' costs more than $6,000.

“That’s not true," Kiely said. "That’s based on an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office based on Paul Ryan’s 2011 plan. That’s outdated. Paul Ryan has a new plan that he introduced this year. And that plan is so different than his earlier plan that the CBO can’t yet make any projection on how much that plan would cost seniors in the future."

All the CBO can say is that the revised Ryan plan might cost more money. But it doesn't know the dollar amount.

Also, Ryan's old and revised plans would only affect future seniors who are currently 55 or younger.

Watch the Romney ad below:

From the Romney campaign's ad:

Announcer: You paid in to Medicare for years. Every paycheck. Now, when you need it, Obama has cut $716 billion from Medicare. Why? To pay for Obamacare.

That is also false, according to FactCheck.org.

“The money that seniors, and all of us, pay in to Medicare goes in to a trust fund and that money is going to pay for Medicare cost," Kiely said. "What Obama is doing is slowing the growth of Medicare in the future. How they would do that is through reduced payment to hospitals, not by cutting benefits to seniors."

What both sides are actually trying to do is extend the life of Medicare and make it work better in the future.

So why would both sides try to confuse and scare seniors about their opponent's plan? The answer is simple.

“The reason that both sides are doing this is because senior citizens vote,” Kiely said.

For more information on Medicare and political ads from FactCheck.org, click here.

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