Richmond, VA - In a statement released today, George Allen's campaign is leveling a debunked charge that Tim Kaine supports a $700 billion cut to Medicare in an attempt to distract from their candidate's praise for plans that would radically overhaul the current Medicare system. The problem?
As analysts and fact checkers have repeatedly noted, the $700 billion in savings the Allen campaign cites are the very same savings in the Ryan budget plan that George Allen has repeatedly praised. The real difference? The Affordable Care Act reinvests the $700 billion in savings in programs that benefit seniors like free preventive care and helping to close the doughnut hole for prescription drug coverage, while the Republican alternative does not and would spend less on Medicare benefits, pushing the costs onto seniors.
Whether it's his repeated praise for the Ryan Budget plan which shifts nearly $6,000 in costs onto Virginia seniors' backs, or his pledge to 'cut, cap, and balance' the federal budget, which analysts say would lead to drastic cuts to Medicare, George Allen has shown Virginians he'd rather overhaul these programs than strengthen existing benefits. Allen’s approach stands in stark contrast to Tim Kaine's proposals to make fiscally responsible reforms to Medicare, like allowing the federal government to negotiate for prescription drug prices, which could save $24 billion each year while Allen has voted against that same proposal.
See below for independent analysts and fact checkers who say the Allen campaign's claim of a $700 billion cut to Medicare is 100% false:
MULTIPLE FACT-CHECKERS, INCLUDING POLITIFACT VIRGINIA, HAVE ALREADY DEBUNKED THIS CLAIM
Politifact VA Rated Claim That Kaine Urged $500 Billion In Medicare Cuts “False,” Called It “Recycled Rubbish” And “An Old, Discredited Charge.” PolitiFact Virginia gave American Crossroads a “False” rating for claiming in their ad “Behind” that Governor Kaine supported $500 billion in cuts to Medicare. PolitiFact described the claim as “Recycled Rubbish,” and wrote, “American Crossroads GPS, a conservative advocacy group, has a new TV ad attacking Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine that airs an old, discredited charge. . . . The CBO, in a new estimate in March 2011, said the health care law would reduce the projected cost of Medicare by $564 billion from 2012 through 2021. But again, here’s the key fact: the health care law, according to Kaiser, does not cut $500 billion from current Medicare spending. Rather, the law will slow the program's future growth. Medicare spending will still increase. The CBO projects Medicare spending will reach $929 billion in 2020, up from $499 billion in actual spending in 2009. . . . Our ruling: American Crossroads says Kaine promoted a $500 billion cut to Medicare. . . . Kaine did advocate for the health care reform legislation, but he never called for a $500 billion cut to Medicare. We rate American Crossroad’s statement False.” [Politifact Virginia, 6/20/12]
Factcheck.org Said That The Claim That ACA Cuts Medicare By $500 Billion Is Actually “A $500 Billion Cut In The Future Growth Of Medicare Over 10 Years.” In an article entitled “Pat Boone Misleads Seniors,” Factcheck.org investigated an ad by the group 60 Plus: “The ad says that the law ‘cuts $500 billion from Medicare.’ That’s a $500 billion cut in the future growth of Medicare over 10 years, or about a 7 percent reduction in growth over the decade. But 60 Plus doesn’t mention those details.” [Factcheck.org, 11/17/11]
Factcheck.Org: Health Care Law “Stipulates That Guaranteed Medicare Benefits Won’t Be Reduced, And It Adds Some New Benefits.” FactCheck.Org wrote, “Misrepresentations of the new health care law have been a staple of Republican campaigns. . . . A common theme is that the law contains a $500 billion Medicare "cut" that will translate into less benefits, but that’s misleading. The law calls for reducing the future growth of Medicare spending over the next 10 years by about 7 percent. Plus, the law stipulates that guaranteed Medicare benefits won’t be reduced, and it adds some new benefits, such as improved coverage for pharmaceuticals.” [FactCheck.org,10/26/10]
Washington Post Factchecker: “Under The Health Care Bill, Medicare Spending Continues To Go Up Year After Year.” In an article entitled “Fact Checking the GOP debate: $500 billion in cuts to Medicare?” The Washington Post reported, “The health care bill tries to identify ways to save money, and so the $500 billion figure comes from the difference over 10 years between anticipated Medicare spending (what is known as ‘the baseline’) and the changes the law makes to reduce spending. . . . The savings actually are wrung from health-care providers, not Medicare beneficiaries. These spending reductions presumably would be a good thing, since virtually everyone agrees that Medicare spending is out of control.” [Washington Post, Factchecker Blog 6/15/11]
• The Washington Post: Health Care Law “Puts Medicare On A More Solid Financial Footing. Also, The Health Care Law Improved Some Benefits For Seniors.” In an article entitled “Fact Checking the GOP debate: $500 billion in cuts to Medicare?” The Washington Post reported, “The health care bill, as mentioned, actually puts Medicare on a more solid financial footing. Also, the health care law improved some benefits for seniors, such as making preventive care free and closing a gap in prescription drug coverage known as the ‘doughnut hole’ — improvements that the House Republican bill actually would repeal.” [Washington Post, Factchecker Blog 6/15/11]
ABC: CMS And Kaiser Foundation Said Of The Claim That The ACA Cuts $500 Billion In Spending: “There Will Be No Benefit Cuts To Medicare.” In fact checking Mitt Romney’s claim that “Obamacare cuts Medicare by approximately $500 billion,” ABC reported,“So does it ‘cut’ Medicare by $500 billion? Medicare spending will continue to grow, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), but ACA will slow that growth. According to a report from the Kaiser Family Health Foundation over the next 10 years, the federal government will devote about $500 billion less to Medicare than it would have without ACA. CMS and the Kaiser Family Foundation tell ABC News that there will be no benefit cuts to Medicare. They say instead of Medicare’s being cut, there will be much more spending at the end of a 10-year window, but it does slow the rate of that growth.” [ABC News, 6/28/12]
ABC: ACA Reduces Spending By “Getting Rid Of Fraud And Ending Overpayments;” Because Of These Savings Medicare “Will Be Able To Fund New Benefits.” ABC reported, “CMS says—and Kaiser agrees—that spending will be reduced by getting rid of fraud and ending overpayments to private insurance companies. It sends a message to those insurance companies: Operate more efficiently. And instead of cuts, the CMS says they will be able to fund new benefits, including free preventive care and broader prescription coverage, including closing the ‘doughnut hole’ affecting seniors.” [ABC News, 6/28/12]
RYAN BUDGET WOULD SPEND LESS ON MEDICARE BENEFITS THAN AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
CBO: Ryan Budget Would Spend $855 Billion On Medicare In FY2022. A CBO analysis of the Ryan budget found: “For each of the fiscal years 2012 to 2022, Chairman Ryan and his staff specified amounts of total revenues and spending for major categories of the federal budget. For 2022, total revenues were set at $4,601 billion; net spending on Medicare, $855 billion.” [CBO, 3/12]
CBO: Obama’s Health Care Law Has Medicare Spending At $929 Billion In 2020. Politifact Virginia wrote, “The CBO projects Medicare spending will reach $929 billion in 2020, up from $499 billion in actual spending in 2009.” [Politifact Virginia, 6/20/12]
CONGRESSMAN PAUL RYAN’S BUDGETS WOULD REPEAL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, BUT RETAIN THE MEDICARE SAVINGS
AP: Ryan Budget Calls “For The Repeal Of Obama’s Health Care Plan But Also Would Retain The $700 Billion In Medicare Cuts That Were Part Of It.” Romney: “‘The president's idea for Medicare was to cut it by $700 billion. That's not the right answer. We want to make sure that we preserve and protect Medicare.’ The former Massachusetts governor did not say so, but the tax-and-spending plans Ryan produced in the past two years as chairman of the House Budget Committee call for the repeal of Obama's health care plan but also would retain the $700 billion in Medicare cuts that were part of it.” [Associated Press, 8/14/12]
Ryan Budget Assumes Same $700 Billion In Medicare Savings As The Affordable Care Act. In the budget proposal that Congressman Ryan released, he supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, except for the $700 billion in savings over ten years that the Affordable Care Act achieves through a reduction in the program's expected rate of growth. [CBO, 3/12; Kaiser Health News, 8/13/12]
Washington Post Factchecker: “It’s Rather Rich For Republicans To Complain About $500 Billion In Supposed Cuts To Medicare That They Themselves Would Retain.” In an article entitled “Fact Checking the GOP debate: $500 billion in cuts to Medicare?” The Washington Post reported, “In the House Republican budget, lawmakers repealed the Obama health care law but retained all but $10 billion of the nearly $500 billion in Medicare savings, suggesting the actual policies enacted to achieve these spending reductions were not that objectionable to GOP lawmakers. . . . It’s rather rich for Republicans to complain about $500 billion in supposed cuts to Medicare that they themselves would retain, even under the cover of helping Medicare” [Washington Post, Factchecker Blog 6/15/11]
CQ Weekly: Ryan Budget Assumes Repeal Of The Health Care Overhaul, “But Would Preserve Almost $500 Billion In Cuts To The Medicare Program.” CQ Weekly reported, “Republican leaders last week embraced a plan drafted by House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan that would slash more than $6 trillion from projected spending over the next decade and make far-reaching changes to federal entitlement programs and tax policy. . . . The budget resolution assumes the repeal of most of the provisions in the health care overhaul law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152), but would preserve almost $500 billion in cuts to the Medicare program. Ryan said his plan would reinvest those savings into Medicare, rather than use the money to pay for the new programs in the health care law.” [CQ Weekly, 4/9/11]
New York Times: Republicans Have Voted Twice For “The Same 10-Year, $500 Billion Savings In Supporting Mr. Ryan’s Annual Budgets.” The New York Times reported, “Obamacare cuts Medicare -- cuts Medicare -- by approximately $500 billion,’ Mr. Romney has told audiences. That is a reprise of Republicans' mantra of the 2010 midterm elections, which gave them big gains at both the state and federal levels and a majority in the House. Yet the message conflicts not only with their past complaint that Democrats opposed reining in Medicare spending, but also with the fact that House Republicans have voted twice since 2010 for the same 10-year, $500 billion savings in supporting Mr. Ryan's annual budgets.” [New York Times, 7/7/12]
Ezra Klein: “Paul Ryan’s Budget Keeps Obama’s Medicare Cuts. Full Stop.” [Washington Post, 8/14/12]