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.