NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 22, 2008

The most successful Democratic campaign strategy is to frighten the elderly into voting for them by accusing the GOP of plotting the demise of Social Security.  This year is no different, except that the Democrats have added information to exacerbate unease among seniors and to make younger voters nervous about their employer-based health plans, says David Catron, a health care revenue cycle expert.

The latest addition is Barack Obama's claim that John McCain plans to cut Medicare benefits.  He says that "Senator McCain would (make) $882 billion in Medicare cuts to pay for an ill-conceived health care plan, even as Medicare already faces a looming shortfall."  Even though McCain's health care plan does include Medicare reform -- as any responsible proposal should, says Catron, it includes initiatives involving:

  • Payment reform.
  • Making sure that Part D premiums for wealthy seniors are not subsidized by the middle class.
  • Reducing drug costs by allowing greater use of generics.
  • Promoting treatment models that better manage chronic conditions.
  • Encouraging the adopting of health care IT and cracking down on Medicare fraud.

But it does not contain a provision that would reduce benefits or restrict eligibility, says Catron.  Yet, these facts have not stopped Obama's attacks; he claims that McCain has voted against protecting Medicare 40 times.

Moreover, Obama claims that McCain's reforms would cause nearly 20 million people to suddenly be dropped from their employer-based health insurance.  However, there is little evidence to support this statement.  The source is a study published in Health Affairs that has been widely criticized for its problematic methodology, and according Dr. John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, is incredibly biased.

Source: David Catron, "The Fear We Need," American Spectator, October 21, 2008.

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