Republican committees tie Democrats to proposed Medicare Advantage cuts

MGN Online
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 10:04am

Republican groups are hitting Democrats over the Obama administration's proposal to cut payment rates to insurers who administer Medicare Advantage, highlighting a potentially damaging report for Democrats among seniors ahead of this year's midterm elections.

A joint memo released Wednesday by three Republican committees -- the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- ties Democrats to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report released last Friday.

Insurers say the proposed cuts could force them to pass on high costs to seniors, and Republicans are citing the report as another example of problems with President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"Because of this drastic cut, seniors across the country will see their premiums rise, benefits shrink, and may lose access to the doctor they've known for years," communications directors from the three organizations say in the memo.

The GOP groups' memo says issues with Obamacare put vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in November in even more risky territory, especially considering that seniors, those most affected by the cuts, are a reliable voting bloc.

"This is a headache Democrats and their candidates cannot afford but cannot avoid, as it only threatens to highlight ObamaCare as a dominant issue in 2014," the memo says.

The organizations call out Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, for her support of the President's healthcare law. Landrieu is considered one of the most vulnerable of the 21 Democratic senators up for reelection this year.

Democrats are hoping to maintain their majority in the chamber through the midterm elections but half of the seats Democrats are defending are located in red or purple states. Republican groups have attacked those facing tough reelection challenges over controversial aspects of Obamacare.

"Make no mistake, our organizations are laser focused on ensuring seniors across the country understand who is to blame for these devastating Medicare Advantage cuts and who broke their promises - because the only cure to ObamaCare is getting rid of the dishonest politicians who supported this train wreck," the memo says.

CMS released the report on Friday with little fanfare. Republicans publicized their reactions Monday but Democrats quickly fired back.

"This report is the latest instance of House Republicans attempting to peddle half-truths and incomplete data," Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, wrote in a statement.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN Capitol Hill Reporter Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.

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