Obama’s aides road-test new ‘Mediscare’ lines

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama’s aides have poll-tested new phrases and themes for their “Mediscare” strategy, which seeks to persuade Medicare-reliant seniors to vote against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the critical swing-state of Florida.

The Medicare reform plan pushed by Romney is “a dangerous plan to strip seniors of their Medicare guarantee,” said Ben LaBolt, press secretary for Obama for America, said Aug. 16.

“These plans would give seniors on Medicare a much worse deal that members of Congress have,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the Democrats’ top-ranked member of the House Budget Committee, said during the Aug. 16 press-conference with LaBolt.

The new language is likely to appear in a TV attack ad.

Democrats are also tying to portray the health care law’s 10-year, $716 billion cut from Medicare as a boon for the retirees.

“FACT: Obamacare saves Medicare more than $700 billion by cutting waste and insurance company subsidies, and extends Medicare by 8 years,” said an late-afternoon tweet from the Obama campaign.

The GOP’s plan to repeal Obamacare will force retirees to contribute to the profits of health-insurance companies who were operating the outgoing Medicare Advantage program, Van Hollen insisted.

“Seniors on Medicare will immediately see an increase in premiums and co-pays to provide an windfall for the insurance companies,” he said. The price will be $3,000 per person over the next decade, he claimed.

The new language complements their existing phrases about the GOP’s supposed efforts to “end Medicare as we know it,” to gut and “voucherize” Medicare to fund a $5 billion giveaway to the wealthy.

Those themes are included in an attack video, headlined “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it.”

However, Romney’s campaign is aggressively pushing its portrayal of the Medicare issue — that Obama robbed $716 billion in seniors’ Medicare taxes to fund the inefficient Obamacare program for the benefit of other Americans.

That’s the pitch in a new Romney Medicare ad. Romney’s campaign also pitched its story in an Aug. 16 memo.

“Barack Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. … Obama has said it is true, his campaign has admitted it is true, and news sources report it is true,” the short paper said.

“The effect of this will be felt directly by beneficiaries, not simply providers and insurers, because that is how the real world works. Costs are passed along, services are curtailed, and the quality of care worsens. And yes, if you are a senior, you should feel robbed,” it concluded.

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Neil Munro