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August 18, 2012

Column: Democrats ignore their own issues with Medicare

Presumptive GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan should begin his campaign rallies by blasting Eric Clapton’s “Before You Accuse Me (Take a Look at Yourself).” This blues tune perfectly reflects the neurosis of President Barack Obama and his troops. They constantly bellow that Mitt Romney and Ryan lust to cut Medicare. Yet, in fact, it is Team Obama that already has chopped deeply into it.

Obama and his comrades echo each other on this point. Republicans are “weakening the safety net,” Obama said Monday. “Romney and Paul Ryan are dead set on slashing seniors’ Medicare benefits to pay for more millionaire tax breaks,” Democratic strategist Kelly Ward wrote donors on Tuesday. “It’s a rigged deal,” Obama political guru David Axelrod told MSNBC on Thursday. “The Ryan budget, endorsed by Mitt Romney, would end Medicare,” screamed MoveOn.org.

Unfortunately for Democrats, who have sung this song since last year, the truth refuses to harmonize with their vocals. Indeed, PolitiFact.com crowned the left’s “Republicans voted to end Medicare” mendacity as “the 2011 Lie of the Year.”

The Washington Post caught Democrats with their hands, arms and shoulders in the Medicare cookie jar.

“Romney is right,” read last Tuesday’s WashingtonPost.com headline. “Obamacare cuts Medicare by $716 billion.” Post reporter Sarah Kliff’s extensive evidence explains “all the various Medicare cuts Democrats made to pay for the Affordable Care Act” — aka Obamacare.

For starters, the Congressional Budget Office director, Douglas W. Elmendorf, wrote House Speaker John Boehner on July 24. Elmendorf determined that if Congress repealed Obamacare, “spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013-2022 period.” Conversely, if Obamacare remains law, so will Obama’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts.

The Washington Post conveniently itemizes Obama’s 10-year decreases in Medicare:

The lion’s share, some 34.8 percent or $249.2 billion, involves “reductions in how much Medicare reimburses hospitals and private health insurance companies,” as Kliff observes. Team Obama lamely argues that these are not Medicare-benefit cuts. Nice try. This is like saying that Washington is not reducing student aid, just limiting tuition payments to colleges and university systems.

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