Rep. Hurt Responds to Charges that He Voted to End Medicare

Responding to accusations by Democratic challenger Brig. Gen. John Douglass (USA, ret.) that he has voted to end Medicare, late last week 5th District Congressman Robert Hurt called district voters to reaffirm his support for Medicare (my parents received one of these calls on their voice mail).

Describing the program a “promise to our seniors,” Rep. Hurt vowed to protect Medicare for those who have paid into the system for their entire working lives.  He acknowledged, though, the reality that reform is vital if Medicare is to survive.

In the call, Rep. Hurt promised 5th District voters that he is “working hard” everyday with Democrats and his fellow Republicans to develop a responsible reform plan that will ensure Medicare’s solvency.

Rep. Hurt’s dedication to protecting the healthcare of senior citizens was on full display last week when he voted to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB):

“Perhaps the most egregious aspect of the President’s health care law is the massive overextension of the federal government into private health care decisions of the American citizen. This law has expanded the size and scope of the federal government in an unprecedented way, and Central and Southside Virginians – especially our seniors – should no longer be forced to foot the bill for a law that restricts their freedoms, raises their taxes, and limits their access to affordable, quality care.”

Brig. Gen. Douglass’s charge is not new; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been bludgeoning what it perceives as vulnerable Republican members of Congress with it since the vote on the Ryan Budget last year.  PolitiFact labeled the claim “false” last August, stating:

No doubt, Ryan’s plan would have hugely altered Medicaid. But to say it would have ended Medicare, as the DCCC does, is a major exaggeration. All seniors — current and future — would have been offered coverage under the proposal, and the program’s budget would have increased  every year.

The DCCC knows this.

When you have to share a ticket with President Obama and the, um, accomplishments of his administration, it’s understandable why you would want to use anything–even discredited charges–to attempt to change the subject.

  • kelley in virginia

    the General is spouting Obama lines. Congressman Robert Hurt has worked hard in Congress & throughout his district. Robert Hurt will be damn hard to beat.

  • ToR

    So what about those of us who have paid into the system for our “entire working lives” but are not seniors, have we been forgotten? If I don’t receive the Medicare benefits I have been paying for my entire life, who is going to reimburse me for the tens of thousands I’ve already paid?

  • Tim J

    “who is going to reimburse me for the tens of thousands I’ve already paid?”… Troll, what about these programs don’t you get that there is no “lock box”, “Medicare savings account”, “free prescriptions”, and “the Government is going to take care of my health and wealth forever”? Your politicians misappropriated, diverted, bargained, traded, pilfered, plundered, ransacked, snitched, stripped, swindled, swiped, thieved, cheated, raided, robbed, pillaged all of these programs and lied to you about it all. The best thing you can do for them and your Government is to die so that politicians can get reelected by telling the living that they didn’t have to borrow money to keep you alive. With Obamacare, the Government will provide “free” counseling through Medicare to help convince you to make your “death” choice sooner.

  • ToR: Wait, I’m confused…I thought Obamacare was supposed to strengthen, not emaciate, Medicare? Anyway, your point is exactly what Rep. Hurt is describing: if we don’t do something to reform Medicare, it’s going to be lost entirely–both for those retirees who must rely on it and for those of us who are young enough to find alternatives, or supplemental plans elsewhere. Congratulations, on your conversion to conservatism, though: asking who will reimburse you for the money the system lost doesn’t sound very like a very liberal position. 🙂

  • Mike Barrett

    I suggest Mr. Hurd had better provide some revised clarification; fact is, the Ryan plan will destroy Medicare as we know it, and he can try to explain that away, but he is destined to lose the argument.

    His opposition to the President’s plan is equally distressing, since as a loyal republican, he must know that the Affordable Health Act is based upon republican proposals, so they were for it before they were against it. Of course, we also see how it has been implemented in Mass.; it appears to be working just fine.

    Republican opposition to Independant Advisory Board is also perplexing since it is designed to reduce costs of the system by standardizing protocols for treatment. Since the old system is burdened by the fee for service method, no rational citizen can avoid seeing that it is subject to fraud, waste, and abuse which must be stopped.

    But hey, republicans would rather choke on the truth than actally utter it in a complete sentence. So while they were for eliminating caps on insurance coverage, allowing students to stay on their parents coverage, eliminating restrictions on pre-existing conditions, and the individual mandate, now, they oppose such measures since the President supports them.

    So what about what is best for us?

  • Tim J

    Mike, why don’t you move to Mass, if their health care is so good, and give us a first hand report of how well it is working?

  • aznew

    Hurt is not being accurate here about either where he stands or what he voted for.

    Hurt voted in favor of the Ryan Budget last year. That budget would have ended Medicare in the sense that it would have replaced a defined benefit program guaranteeing benefits with a voucher program that would leave benefits dependent upon an individuals ability to afford them.

    The PolitiFact analysis that found to the contrary has been widely and soundly discredited and with good reason. Indeed, it is one of the PolitiFact analyses that has done great damage to the organization’s reputation.

    Why won’t politicians like Hurt and Ryan stand behind their policy proposals and tell the truth abut them? If Robert Hurt thinks Ryan’s plans for Medicare are so great, why doesn’t he defend those ideas, rather than use his position to obfuscate and confuse people.

    Say what you want about Perriello, the guy clearly stated where he stood on issues, and was willing to defend his position to all constituents, especially those who didn’t agree with him. Hurt, not so much.

  • Mike Barrett

    Tim J, I have nothing against Mass., but frankly, since I enjoy both my Medicare and Tricare benefits, I am quite pleased to share my advantages with others in the nation.

  • Tim J

    Yes Mike, because “Medicare” and “Tricare” is Federal healthcare that is currently “portable” across state lines. But the winds they are a shifting from:

    “Administration officials told Congress that one goal of the increased fees is to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare and eventually opt out of the program in favor of alternatives established by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.” But you can opt into the less expensive, standard Tricare plan: “Kathy Beasley, the deputy director of government relations for the Military Officers Association of America, said the organization expects service members to opt out of Tricare Prime and into the standard Tricare plan…. The plan calls for between 30 percent to 78 percent increases in Tricare annual premiums for the first year, followed by five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent—more than 3 times current levels.”

    And may the Lord smile upon you if you and your family ever have to go into a VA hospital to get mandatory counseling to die.

  • Carly EngageAmerica

    The best way to “fix” Medicare is to transition it to a more sustainable and rational market-based, premium support system. When the current SGR patch expires later this year, Congress should use the opening to secure immediate structural reforms that move toward premium support, including raising the retirement age, increasing the premiums for Parts B and D, adding a premium to Part A and tightening the income thresholds. Making Medicare sustainable for the long term is the key to reforming the program. The only permanent solution for the SGR is to end it and adopt a Medicare premium support model that is free from government price controls on doctors and hospitals (

  • Mike Barrett

    Thanks Carly for proving my point. The pervasive influence of corporate money and their associations through ALEC and groups like the Heritage Foundation are hard at work to convert public programs to new sources of cash flow their private corporate masters. Our Governor, having been caught in the big lie, that is, taking a public works project like the midtown tunnel, and converting that to a revenue stream for private corporate conglomerates at our expense, will surely be willing to do the same for K-12 education or public health programs.

    Most republicans that I know are simply not aware of the pervasive influence of corporate money on right wing groups in outsourcing public functions to their cronies. Medicare is just one of these programs. Soon in Virginia, when you leave your driveway, you will start paying tolls to some international conglomerate if the republicans and their corporate masters have their way.

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