A View From The Field: How Medicare Is Playing In Congressional, Senate Races


Topics: Medicare, Politics, States

Aug 16, 2012

From Texas to Connecticut, members of Congress and their challengers are pressing their views on the federal health program for seniors.

CT Mirror: McMahon And Murphy Tangle Over Medicare, Jobs
A day after the primaries, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon‘s campaign began automated calls Wednesday to 300,000 older voters, accusing Democrat Chris Murphy of voting to cut their Medicare benefits — a mischaracterization of the record. … The automated calls directed at Murphy stem from his vote as a congressman for the Affordable Care Act, which assumes a long-term savings of $700 billion in Medicare spending, but the law makes no cuts in Medicare benefits (Pazniokas, 8/15).

Houston Chronicle: Medicare Moves To The Fore In Texas’ 23 Congressional District Race
National Democrats trying to win back control of the House are using the the Paul Ryan vice presidential pick against Republican lawmakers this fall. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is using automated phone calls to constituents in 25 targeted congressional districts with Republican lawmakers, including the Southwest Texas one held by freshman Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco of San Antonio. The robocalls say Canseco and other Republicans voted for a budget that would end Medicare “as we know it” (Martin, 8/14).

The Associated Press: Minn. 8th’s House Candidates Clash Over Medicare
The Republican incumbent in the U.S. House race for a northeastern Minnesota seat says GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s proposed Medicare overhaul is the only way to save the program for future retirees. Meanwhile, the Democratic challenger considers the plan an anathema that would end the government health care program in its current form (Lohn, 8/15).

The Associated Press: Ad Targets Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek For His Views On Medicare
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm is airing an ad targeting Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek for his views on Medicare. It’s the group’s first ad focused on the issue. The ad, airing in Benishek’s northern Michigan district, repeatedly plays footage of the Republican saying “privatizing Social Security and Medicare is the only way to do it” (8/16).

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin some observers say the Senate race could turn on the federal health law —

Medpage Today: Health Care Key In Wisconsin Senate Race
In the Badger State on Tuesday, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson won 34 percent of the vote to defeat three challengers in the Republican Senate primary. Thompson, who served as HHS secretary from early 2001 to January 2005 under President George W. Bush, ran on a platform of repealing the ACA and replacing it with market-based solutions. … However, Thompson angered conservative voters in the state by openly supporting the law’s individual mandate before running for the Senate seat. The views of Thompson and his Democratic opponent, 6-term congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, on the ACA will be a deciding factor for Wisconsin voters in November, Dennis Dresang, PhD, political science professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told MedPage Today (Pittman, 8/15).

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Senate Dems Protest Medicare Cuts

Senate Dems Protest Medicare Cuts (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

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