Throughout the health reform debate, Republicans falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act’s estimated $500 billion in cuts to Medicare undermines senior’s benefits and now several GOP-affiliated groups are reiterating these charges in attack ads for the midterm campaign. During a recent debate with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) — where Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have run Medicare attack ads — Republican challenger Ken Buck distanced himself from the charge and conceded that the attacks were false:
BUCK: Republicans did it to you and your colleagues during the health care debate when they said, oh my goodness, the Democrats are going to take $500 billion away from Medicare. That was absolutely despicable. It was wrong for the Republicans to do it then and it’s wrong of you to do it now.”
“I hope you’ll call your friends who are pushing an ad accusing me of cutting $500 billion out of Medicare,” Bennet told Buck. “That $500 billion savings in Medicare is the very heart of the health care reform bill.”
Indeed, the health law does not cut the current Medicare budget, but slows growth in the program by removing approximately $500 billion from future spending over the next 10 years. The cuts help stabilize the program by eliminating overpayments and slowly phasing in payment adjustments that encourage providers to deliver quality care more efficiently. As a result the law extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by 12 years and allows seniors to retain all of their guaranteed Medicare benefits.