One Pagers

GOP's Medicare Plan

March 19, 2012 8:45 am ET
This week, as the anniversary of the health care law spotlights its benefits for Americans, Republicans in Congress are likely to announce their budget plan. Here's how to talk about what's anticipated.


Nothing's new: Republicans still want to take away Medicare but keep giving our tax money away to Big Oil.

Connect: Americans want peace of mind that Medicare will be there for them and their kids.

Define: Washington Republicans don't get it. Instead of strengthening Medicare, they keep trying to take it away. Instead of getting rid of taxpayer handouts to Big Oil, they want more of them.

Illustrate: Their last budget would've killed the Medicare guarantee, replaced it with coupons, and doubled health care costs for our parents and grandparents. Their latest plan is more of the same.

Discredit: They know it's not popular so they'll call it something else, but nothing's new: It would end the Medicare guarantee and shift the cost to retirees who invest in Medicare their entire working lives.

Connect the dots: When you're standing at the gas pump watching those numbers roll by, just remember: they'll demand that we give up Medicare we pay into with every paycheck, but refuse to ask oil company CEOs to give up their tax giveaways.

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EXCUSE: "Medicare must be reformed to be saved."

  • Actually, just like the military, Medicare cannot run out of money. Medicare's trust fund is in better financial shape today than for most of its history thanks to the new health care law
  • The real threat to Medicare is Republican politicians who keep trying to take it away.
  • If they really want to protect Medicare, guess what: the health care law they oppose and want to repeal is already doing it. That's what preserving Medicare looks like.

ATTACK: "Obamacare hurts seniors."


  • In their previous budget plan, Republicans in Congress proposed to end Medicare as we know it by creating a voucher system that directly ends original Medicare and forces older Americans to turn to private health insurance companies -- doubling their costs.
  • More than 80% of Americans opposed this Republican Medicare plan. At the time, over 75% also said government has the responsibility to provide health care coverage for the elderly.
  • Now, 70% of Americans, including  the majority of Republicans, say they want to keep Medicare as it is today instead of changing it to what Rep. Ryan and Mitt Romney have proposed.
  • House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan recently proposed another voucher plan that would still end Medicare as we know itby:
    • Making the original Medicare we know eventually go away by siphoning away its members into wasteful private health insurance companies.
    • Ending the Medicare guarantee of access to a specific set of defined benefits that you can count on and predictable costs.
    • Breaking up Medicare's ability to spread risk and leverage the bargaining clout of its millions of members to negotiate better prices.
    • Shifting those risks and costs to individual people with Medicare and making them bear the brunt of all the added costs unless Congress chose to intervene.
    • Giving seniors a coupon to spend on health insurance outside Medicare and leaving them in a system in which they must fend for themselves against private insurers --  even though the business model of the commercial insurance industry was the point of establishing Medicare in the first place.
  • Campaign contributions from the private health insurance industry overwhelmingly favor the GOP, including the Republicans in Congress now actively trying to gut Medicare and repeal the health care law.
  • This week is the two-year anniversary of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. For state-by-state data on how the health care law is already working for older Americans, please click here.

We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


Posted in - Health Care - Seniors

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