We've been having some fun with a clip of David Axelrod angrily denouncing the fact that President Obama gutted Medicare by $700 Billion in order to partially pay for a brand new entitlement program. Axelrod's campaign colleague Stephanie Cutter refuted him on another show, calling the Medicare cuts an "achievement." But pay attention to the argument Axelrod makes here:
"You're repeating a misstatement by the Republicans. I would call it a lie."
Now let's take a look at another video clip of a very unlikely culprit repeating this precise Republican "lie." I featured this in a post yesterday evening, but I want to make sure it achieves an appropriate level of saturation. From ABC News in 2009:
TAPPER: “One of the concerns about health care and how you pay for it — one third of the funding comes from cuts to Medicare.”
BARACK OBAMA: “Right.”
TAPPER: “A lot of times, as you know, what happens in Congress is somebody will do something bold and then Congress, close to election season, will undo it.”
TAPPER: “You saw that with the ‘doc fix’.”
TAPPER: “Are you willing to pledge that whatever cuts in Medicare are being made to fund health insurance, one third of it, that you will veto anything that tries to undo that?”
OBAMA: “Yes. I actually have said that it is important for us to make sure this thing is deficit neutral, without tricks. I said I wouldn’t sign a bill that didn’t meet that criteria.”
Brace yourselves, Floridians -- I imagine you're going to see this exchange a quite a lot on your television screens over the next few months. Here we have Obama nonchalantly confirming that his unaffordable and unpopular healthcare transformation relied on hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts. He wasn't slashing $700 Billion out of (current, not future) Medicare to help that program remain solvent, mind you; he was, er, "re-allocating" that money to help construct a brand new entitlement scheme. The purpose of this eye-popping transfer of dollars, he says, was to ensure that Obamacare would not add a dime to the deficit. In the clip, he affirms that he would have vetoed any bill that added to the deficit, and pledged to bend the overall healthcare cost curve down. A few problems:
(1) Obamacare's price tag is almost double what Democrats said it would be over the first full decade of implementation.
(3) The national healthcare cost curve has actually been bent up, with costs expanding faster than if Democrats hadn't passed Obamacare at all.
(4) Medicare "as we know it" is still scheduled to become insolvent in 12 years, absent major reforms.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a bipartisan plan to save and preserve Medicare. Democrats offer nothing except cuts and rationing. Romney and Ryan plan to repeal the budget-busting, cost-hiking, doctor shortage-intensifiying Obamacare law. This president wants to enshrine it forever, shackling the American people with its consequences. Some liberals are now arguing that Republicans (!) are being disingenuous with their Medicare attacks because Ryan's plan would maintain Obama's cuts. First of all, that's quite a departure from their usual "Republicans = cuts" narrative. Secondly, Yuval Levin explains the difference:
It’s at least a bit odd for Democrats who say Ryan is the devil to defend President Obama’s raid on Medicare by saying Paul Ryan does the same thing — and what’s more, it’s not true. The Ryan budget puts those $700 billion into the Medicare trust fund, to shore up the program’s future and reduce the deficit, rather than spending the money on yet another new entitlement. And Mitt Romney proposes not to make those Obamacare cuts in the first place — keeping the money in Medicare’s operating budget and so leaving the program simply as it is for today’s seniors and starting his premium-support reform for younger Americans when they retire, beginning a decade from now. Both undo Obama’s raid on Medicare, and both support a plan to save Medicare from bankruptcy in the years ahead.
UPDATE - Here's Senator Obama describing the Medicare "funding crisis" and criticizing President Bush's inaction in 2005. Just perfect:
UPDATE - Some liberals claim Obama's $700 Billion Medicare cut hasn't affected services for seniors at all. This is untrue. The cuts have already slashed the popular Medicare Advantage program for current seniors -- to say nothing of the impending cuts when Medicare Part A goes insolvent in 12 years, or the rationing board's decisions.