Fox News is obscuring the negative impact of Congressman Paul Ryan's Medicare plan on seniors by accusing President Obama and the Democrats of "stoking fears" about the plan. In fact, Ryan's plan would adversely affect current and future seniors, forcing them, among other things, to pay more for prescription drugs, and it would create a voucher system that would drive up health care costs.
GOP Claimed Obama Is "Continuing To Scare Seniors" Over Ryan Medicare Plan
GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey: "Democrats Are Doing A Pretty Good Job Of Continuing To Scare Seniors." CNN reported that when asked about "lukewarm poll results" regarding Romney's pick of Ryan, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) "said it shows that 'at this point in time the Democrats are doing a pretty good job of continuing to scare seniors' about Ryan's proposed Medicare reforms." From CNN:
The first poll on Romney's choice of Ryan, released Monday by USA Today/Gallup, showed 39% of those questioned felt it was an "excellent or pretty good" pick, while 42% felt it was a "fair or poor" choice and 19% had no opinion. The survey was conducted Sunday and had a sampling error of 4 percentage points.
By comparison, a poll of the smaller sampling of registered voters four years ago found 46% thought Sarah Palin was an "excellent or pretty good" choice by John McCain, while 37% called the pick "fair or poor" and 17% had no opinion.
Monday's poll also showed that 66% of respondents said Romney's choice of Ryan would have no effect on whether they would support the GOP ticket.
Asked Tuesday about such lukewarm poll results, Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia said it shows that "at this point in time the Democrats are doing a pretty good job of continuing to scare seniors" about Ryan's proposed Medicare reforms. [CNN, 8/14/12]
Romney Spokesman: Obama Is Running A "Fear And Smear Campaign." A USA Today article reported that Romney spokesman Ryan Williams accused the president of running a "fear and smear campaign because his policies have failed":
Obama told donors in Chicago that Ryan is "a decent man" and "an articulate spokesman" for the vision of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, "but it's a vision I fundamentally disagree with."
The audience in Chicago initially booed the mention of Romney, but the president cut them off, calling the Wisconsin congressman "a family man."
"I know him," Obama said of Ryan. "I welcome him to the race."
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams accused Obama of running a "fear and smear campaign because his policies have failed." [USA Today, 8/12/12]
Fox Defends Ryan Medicare Plan By Accusing Dems Of "Stoking Fears"
James Rosen: Democrats Have "Eagerly Stoked" Fears About Ryan Medicare Plan. On Happening Now, Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen reported that "this coming weekend Representative Ryan heads to central Florida to confront directly the fears that some, perhaps many, seniors may have about his plans to reform Medicare," adding: "Fears, of course, eagerly stoked by the Democrats." [Fox News, Happening Now, 8/14/12]
Chris Stirewalt Claimed Obama Campaign Against Ryan Medicare Plan "Will Still Be About Stoking Fears." In a FoxNews.com column, Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt wrote that Obama's campaign against Ryan's Medicare plan "will ... be about stoking fears":
Now that Romney has so fully embraced Ryan, and with him a Reaganite view of limited government, that gap is sure to rise.
Obama has returned this week to Iowa, where his legend was born. It was in that state's 2008 caucuses where the freshman senator from Illinois became the giant killer, the hopeful outsider whose promise of a better, more united future for the country defeated what he called "the politics of fear."
But for many months, Obama has been mostly trafficking in the politics of fear. His many months of scorchingly negative, highly personal series of attacks on Romney may have convinced Democrats to be very afraid of the former Bain Capital CEO, but it certainly hasn't given anyone much reason to be enthusiastic about the November election.
The central line of attack from Obama and the Democrats may shift from an assault on Romney's character to a fusillade against Ryan's proposals on Medicare, but it will still be about stoking fears.
As Ryan helps Romney add some positive enthusiasm to the wellspring of negative enthusiasm to defeat Obama on the Republican side, the president is seeking a way to get his people on the march. Fear can only take him so far. [FoxNews.com, 8/14/12]
Steve Moore: "There's No Question The Democrats Are Going To Start Running Those ... Mediscare" Ads. Discussing the philosophies of Ryan and his mentor, the late Rep. Jack Kemp, Wall Street Journal senior economics writer and frequent Fox guest Steve Moore said, "There's no question the Democrats are going to start running those ads, you know, Mediscare, with granny going over the cliff. There's no question that's coming." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 8/13/12]
Andrea Tantaros: Democrats Willing To "Just Lie And Run Ads Over And Over About Paul Ryan Pushing Granny Off A Cliff." On The Five, co-host Andrea Tantaros said that "the only trepidation that I've heard from Republicans, Eric, is that they're fearful of Florida" because Democrats are "willing to stoop so low" and "just lie and run ads over and over about Paul Ryan pushing granny off a cliff." She added: "Democrats have already cut grandma's Medicare. They did that in Obamacare. You cannot be for Obamacare and be a protector of Medicare." [Fox News, The Five, 8/13/12]
Ryan Plan Adversely Affects Current And Future Seniors
Bloomberg Businessweek: Ryan Budget Would "Require Seniors To Pay More Out Of Their Own Pocket" For Medicare Services. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, "Ryan's budget would convert Medicare from a defined benefit program to a voucher system that would provide seniors with a fixed sum to buy private insurance, a sum that probably wouldn't keep pace with rising health-care costs and would therefore require seniors to pay more out of their own pocket." [Bloomberg Businessweek, 8/13/12]
Ryan Budget Would Raise Many Seniors' Prescription Drug Costs. In a March 28 report, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) found that the Ryan budget's repeal of the Affordable Care Act's "doughnut hole" fix would "adversely affect current Medicare beneficiaries as well as those not yet eligible." The report explained:
Health reform has begun to close the doughnut hole -- the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage that many seniors experienced once their annual drug costs exceeded $2,840. Before health reform, seniors had no additional coverage until their costs hit $6,448. Last year, seniors who were in the coverage gap received a 50-percent discount on brand-name drugs and a 7-percent discount on generic prescription drugs. This year, the generic discount jumps to 14 percent. Due to these improvements, five million Medicare beneficiaries have saved more than $3.2 billion, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Health reform will close the entire donut hole by 2020. The Ryan budget would reopen it. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/28/12]
CBPP: Ryan Plan Would Force Medicare To Raise Premiums, Which Would Make It "Less Financially Viable." CBPP economist and senior fellow Paul Van de Water wrote that Ryan's plans for Medicare could lead to traditional Medicare unraveling:
Chairman Ryan claims that his proposal "ensur[es] that traditional Medicare remains an option." Unfortunately, that's not the case. Under premium support, traditional Medicare would tend to attract a less healthy pool of enrollees, while private plans would attract healthier enrollees (as occurs today with Medicare and private Medicare Advantage plans). Although the proposal calls for "risk adjusting" payments to health plans -- that is, adjusting them to reflect the average health status of their enrollees -- the risk adjustment process is highly imperfect and captures only part of the differences in costs across plans that stem from differences in the health of enrollees.
Inadequate risk adjustment would mean that traditional Medicare would be only partially compensated for its higher-cost enrollees, which would force Medicare to raise beneficiary premiums to make up the difference. The higher premiums would lead more of Medicare's healthier enrollees to abandon it for private plans, very possibly setting off a spiral of rising premium costs and falling enrollment for traditional Medicare. Over time, traditional Medicare would become less financially viable and could unravel -- not because it was less efficient than the private plans, but because it was competing on an unlevel playing field in which private plans captured the healthier beneficiaries and incurred lower costs as a result. Ryan also would allow private plans to tailor their benefit packages to attract healthier beneficiaries and deter sicker ones, which only makes this outcome more likely. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/28/12]
CBPP: Ryan Plan Would "Add Tens Of Millions Of Americans To The Ranks Of The Uninsured." A post on CBPP's Off the Charts blog stated that Ryan budget's proposal to restructure Medicaid into block grants "would add tens of millions of Americans to the ranks of the uninsured." The post also said that Ryan's plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion "means that 17 million" more people would not receive health insurance. The post continued:
The block grant would cut federal Medicaid spending by $810 billion over the next ten years (2013-2022). That would be a cut of about 22 percent compared to current law. (This doesn't count the loss of the large additional funding that states would receive to expand Medicaid under health reform.)
[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Off the Charts, 3/20/12]
For more on how Ryan's Medicare plan would affect seniors, click here.
Fox Previously Adopted GOP's "Mediscare" Talking Point To Defend Ryan Budget
Fox Adopted GOP's "Mediscare" Talking Point Last Year. In a May 6, 2011, post to his Twitter account, Republican House Speaker John Boehner wrote: "Democrats' 'Mediscare' Attacks Meant To Deflect Attention From #hcr 'Rationing.'" Fox then adopted the "Mediscare" talking point to defend Ryan's budget. [Media Matters, 5/25/11, 5/25/11]