Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Media Matters: Rep. Steve Pearce Lies to Elderly Constituent on Medicare Cuts in GOP Budget Plan
In a post on its Political Correction blog, national media watchdog group Media Matters reports that GOP Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02) lied when an elderly constituent at a town hall meeting in his district asked him about the fact that Medicare privatization in the GOP budget plan "primarily affects women and the poor." In his response to the question, Pearce claimed there were no Medicare cuts in GOP Rep. Ryan's budget and that, in fact, only the health care reform law has cuts to Medicare:
CONSTITUENT: Medicare privatization and cuts in Social Security primarily affect women and the poor and I was wondering if there is any way that that can be addressed so that everybody feels some of the pain.
PEARCE: You bet, right now there is a lot of discussion going on about Medicare and all that was suggested. Frankly, under the Ryan plan, you can like it or dislike it, but under that plan there were no cuts proposed for Medicare at all. And then under -- there was no other plan suggested, the Democrats haven't suggested one, so right now there haven't been cuts. Now the health care bill that was passed last year, had 500 billion cuts to Medicare so you still want to be aware of that, Medicare Part A or part -- anyway Medicare Advantage is where the cuts were coming out of. So right now, I don't see any cuts at all for Medicare especially for people 55 and older. Again, those things are kind of lost in all the discussion, but nobody is suggesting we change the program for people who are in it.
Rep. Pearce either didn't read the budget he voted for or he's lying to his constituents. The House-passed GOP budget calls for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but keeps the $500 billion reduction in Medicare Advantage spending growth that Republicans decry as "cuts."
But the budget also goes much further. Contrary to Rep. Pearce's assertion that nobody over 55 would be affected, the GOP budget would reopen the Medicare "donut hole," cut Medicaid (which nine million poor seniors also qualify for), and almost double the cost that seniors have to pay out of pocket by 2022, eventually rising to a 68 percent increase in out-of-pocket costs. All that, and it only reduces the deficit by $155 billion because of increased tax cuts for the wealthy. As Rep. Pearce's constituent points out, and rightly so, the GOP budget does not spread the burden around, but instead focuses it squarely on current and future senior citizens. (h/t OLE)
Bottom Line: Rep. Pearce apparently believes it's OK to lie to his constituents in order to hide the fact that Republicans are dead set on cutting Medicare benefits. Is he ashamed of the policies he and his Party are supporting? If not, why isn't he telling the truth about the real consequences of the GOP budget plan?