Jun 20, 2011

What’s Going On Back Home? Medicare

From town hall meetings to local events, House Republicans faced more voter anger over their plans to end Medicare in recent weeks. While they might of thought the issue would go away, House Republicans are completely on defense back at home.

Take a look for yourself.

WV-02: Capito fields difficult questions from seniors [Martinsville Journal]

“Age was definitely on the minds of those who gathered Friday for Berkeley Senior Services' June birthday bash […] since many audience members posed pointed questions to guest speaker U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., as she talked about pending changes to Medicare and Social Security. They wanted to know how senior citizens would be impacted and if they would end up with less benefits. One woman said she didn't believe members of Congress should be allowed to vote on these types of issues "since it doesn't affect them and they don't know how it feels." Another woman, speaking after the question-and-answer session, said she believes members of Congress should forego their annual salary of $174,000 - either totally or at least in part - to help stretch federal dollars further.” [The Journal, 6/19/11]

NH-01/02: Medicare issue could influence congressional races [Fosters Daily Democrat]

“Medicare could be a political game-changer in 2012.  That is, if other factors remain the same or get better. Democrat Kathy Hochul's recent congressional victory in New York started a firestorm of Democratic optimism, with some looking at the win as a voter referendum on Republicans' proposed changes to Medicare. […]  Scala said he suspects Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta "are awfully happy" they weren't up for re-election a few weeks ago when the controversy heated up over the budget plan proposed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. His plan, The Path to Prosperity, offers drastic changes to Medicare that Democrats criticize for implementing a voucher system.”  [Fosters, 6/19/11]

CA-52: Cuts to Medicare Approved by GOP House would have major impacts on East County Seniors and Disabled People, Analysis Finds [East County Magazine]

“The plan would eliminate Medicare for those now under 55, making them use vouchers for private insurance instead. Some benefits for current Medicare beneficiaries and the disabled would be cut immediately. Seniors would pay more for prescriptions and government reimbursement to private insurers would not keep pace with the rising cost of medical care, resulting in seniors paying higher costs.  […] In the 52nd Congressional District represented by Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon), adverse impacts are estimated to include shifting thousands of dollars in costs onto individuals--$182,000 to $287,000 per person for those ages 44-54 in the district--while sharply cutting benefits for those over age 54 and the disabled.” [East County Magazine, 6/19/11]

CO-04: Residents gather to protest Gardner's Medicare vote [Reporter Herald]

“A group of about 50 people gathered Thursday outside of U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner’s Fort Collins office to protest his recent vote for a budget proposal that would make changes to the federal Medicare program. […] Resident Deanna Ball said she came to the protest hoping Gardner would listen to the group’s concerns and change his stance on the budget.  “I’m so afraid that they’re going to dismantle Medicare,” she said. “When you turn 65 is when you need health care, and a voucher is not going to take care of us.” […] Fort Collins resident Don Morris said he said he would be willing to pay higher taxes to help pay for Medicare benefits. “I can afford health care if Medicare goes away,” he said. “I’m here protesting because it’s immoral.” [Reporter Herald, 6/17/11]

AZ-01: Rep. Gosar shares his thoughts on Medicare/Medicaid [San Tan Valley Today]

“U.S. House of Representatives Arizona District 1 Representative Paul Gosar held a town hall meeting in Florence on June 9, 2011. […] In late May, Democrat Kathy Hochul upset a Republican candidate in a special election for a local New York seat considered to lean conservative. There has also been increasing national speculation as to the political efficacy of the Ryan plan. Since then, many Republicans have been on the road explaining the benefits of the Medicare and medicaid reform proposals.” [San Tan Valley Today, 6/14/11]

PA-06: Gerlach Doubles Down on GOP Medicare Reforms [Politics PA]

“Rep. Jim Gerlach isn’t backing down from Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan or its changes to Medicare. [… ] The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also noticed Gerlach’s piece, and just issued a press release rebutting it, including links to several media reports about the plan. “Yesterday, while claiming to want a “fact-based debate” about the future of Medicare, Representative Jim Gerlach (PA-06) repeatedly misled his constituents about his vote to end the popular program,” read the DCCC release. “In reality, Gerlach voted to end Medicare, turn Medicare into a voucher system, and make healthcare more costly for current seniors.”” [PoliticsPA, 6/13/11]

KS-03: Rep. Kevin Yoder speaks at LMH about Medicare, federal budget [Desoto Explorer]

“Freshman U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., on Friday disputed a contention that a budget proposal by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would end Medicare, a popular narrative from congressional Democrats who oppose it. […] Ryan’s plan would also provide a fixed payment for anyone age 54 or younger to purchase private insurance once they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare. […] The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has criticized Yoder and other Republicans for supporting Ryan’s proposal.” [Desoto Explorer, 6/13/11]

AR-01: Demonstrators get a promise from Tim Griffin. [Arkansas Times]

“Neil Sealy with Arkansas Community Organizations sent the photo along with a note about a dozen Arkansans who drove to Bryant to greet U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin […] The demonstrators want to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Griffin's vote for the House budget plan was a vote to dismantle the country's medical safety net for older and poorer Americans. Sealy said the demonstrators were unhappy that Griffin is not holding public meetings to hear their concerns. They also wanted him to oppose new Republican legislation by Rep. Pete Sessions to privatize Social Security.” [Arkansas Times, 6/10/11]

NY-20: Congressman Gibson defends Medicare cuts to Saratoga Springs audience [Daily Gazette]

“Freshman U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson on Wednesday defended — and said he will continue to defend — a Republican proposal that would radically restructure Medicare. The proposal in the House of Representatives would replace the fast-growing, government-funded senior citizen health care program with a privatized voucher system. […] Over time, critics say, senior citizens would pay a rising share of their medical costs themselves, through higher out-of-pocket costs for insurance premiums, reduced benefits or by choosing high-deductible plans to keep their premiums lower.” [Daily Gazette, 6/9/11]

NY-25: Medicare Continues to Dominate Discussion [YNN]

“Medicare played a big role in the recent special election in the 26th Congressional District. It's an issue that's not going away, as Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle found out at a town hall meeting in the 25th District Wednesday evening. Buerkle was greeted by protesters worried about the future of Medicare as she walked into Palmyra Town Hall.” [New York YNN, 6/8/11]

C0-04: Congressman greeted by friends, foes at tea party meeting [Times Call]

“U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner found himself fielding questions from skeptics as well as supporters during his featured speaking appearance at Wednesday night's meeting of the Longmont 9.12 Tea Party organization. […] But Kaye Fissinger, who said she's a Medicare recipient as well as a cancer survivor, described what she said had been excellent treatment and care that the federal program paid for. She said the Medicare system should be preserved, rather than converted to a "privatized voucher" system.” [Times Call, 6/8/11]

NV-03: Heck dodges Social Security questions at forum [Las Vegas Sun]

“He took 30 questions from the audience and had time to spare before the scheduled end of the meeting, but he refused to go into depth about his positions on Social Security. […] Heck and his staff were clearly in damage-control mode after the congressman came under fire for calling the federal social welfare program a “pyramid scheme.” He made the comment during a town hall last month. […] At the town hall meeting Wednesday, a reporter again asked Heck about his pyramid scheme comments during the public question-and-answer portion of the event. Heck refused to answer.” [Las Vegas Sun, 6/8/11]

WI-07: Congressman Duffy meets protests [Superior Telegram]

“Rep. Sean Duffy, the freshman Republican from Ashland representing Wisconsin’s 7th District, was met with protests during a stop at the Superior-Douglas County Senior Center. […] “Medicare has been created because insurance companies didn’t want old, sick people,” said Philip Anderson, a Douglas County resident. He feared those younger than 55 now would be unable to find coverage, even with the subsidies. […]“No one is saying we can balance this budget by snapping our fingers,” the congressman said. But he doesn’t want to leave a massive debt to the next generation.  That struck a chord with David Franks of Superior. The U.S. Navy veteran said his military retirement has been frozen for the past two years, and he has learned to stretch every dollar to care for his family. Government leaders have run amok with spending, he said, and they need to start pinching pennies.” [Superior Telegram, 6/8/11]

WI-07: Medicare dominates Duffy’s town hall chat [Duluth News Tribune]

“Health care and proposed changes to Medicare drew keen interest from community members — and protesters — during Rep. Sean Duffy’s visit Monday to the Superior-Douglas County Senior Center.  “We’re here to save Medicare,” said Gilbert Davidson of Superior as he held up a sign along Tower Avenue before the meeting. “They’re robbing it, taking it away from us.” […] Jenice Meyer, a lifelong Superior resident, worried about how the change could affect her own mother, who is 54. Under the Republican plan, she said, seniors would receive about $9,750 a year in vouchers for insurance that would cost roughly $30,000. The high cost may push some seniors back into the workplace, or cause them to utilize other government programs like food stamps.”  [Duluth News Tribune, 6/7/11]

WI-07: Protesters Crash Congressman Duffy's Visit [WDIOTV]

“Protesters and supporters attended a meeting at the Superior Douglas County Senior Center, voicing their opinions on whether Congressman Duffy should have voted to privatize medicare.  What was supposed to be a quiet visit with Congressman Duffy, turned into a chaotic protest. […]. This was regarding Duffy's yes vote to a Republican back budget that would eventually privatize Medicare, and according to republicans, eliminate the nation's debt. More than 100 showed up and the atmosphere was as hostile outside as it was inside”. [WDIOTV, 6/6/11]


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