Conservative Group Airs Dishonest Ad Defending GOP Medicare Plan

June 20, 2011 5:50 pm ET — Meredith Kormes

Last week 60 Plus Association, a group that calls itself "the conservative alternative to the liberal AARP," announced that they are spending $1.4 million to run a new television ad defending the Republican plan for Medicare. In it, they highlight footage of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) touting the GOP plan, say that the GOP Medicare plan "makes needed Medicare reforms and protects seniors," and make a host of claims that are very similar to a recent 60 Plus web ad that Political Correction previously debunked.


In the ad, 60 Plus makes the incredibly misleading claim that the GOP plan "reforms Medicare." Rather, as even the Wall Street Journal wrote, it would "essentially end Medicare." Because instead of protecting seniors, the GOP plan turns Medicare into a voucher system and ultimately shifts the cost burden onto the backs of seniors.

Additionally, part of the GOP Medicare plan would repeal the Affordable Care Act, and doing so would reopen the prescription drug "donut hole," hurting the three million seniors who have already received discounted prescription drugs. It would also eliminate the preventative services provided by the health care law, which 5.5 million Medicare beneficiaries have already taken advantage of.

And once the GOP Medicare voucher plan is in place in 2022, healthy seniors still on "traditional" Medicare would have an increased incentive to leave, thereby endangering the program for less healthy beneficiaries. Plus, the GOP budget's plan to cut Medicaid would also affect seniors immediately since approximately nine million seniors are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid and a majority of nursing home residents are seniors covered by Medicaid.

So with all the cuts and changes to Medicare and Medicaid, the "guaranteed health care choices" seniors are provided with under the GOP plan is really a choice between care or no care. And, contrary to what the 60 Plus ad suggests, the care that future seniors could receive is not like what members of Congress get.

Moreover, one of the first images in the ad is a graphic from Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" promotional video, which misleadingly ignores the existence of the health care law. The graphic indicates that the Medicare Trust Fund will run out of money in 2020, but according to a recent Trustees report, the program will actually be able to pay full benefits until 2024, thanks to the health care law. Also the graphic, and the sentiment behind it, doesn't take into account the fact that without the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare's "trust fund would have run dry by 2016."

But despite all these lies, 60 Plus is right on one point: there is only one plan that protects Medicare and seniors. It's called the Affordable Care Act. Not only does the new health care law expand the benefits seniors receive under Medicare (mentioned above), but it also cracks down on waste and fraud in the system and institutes the Independent Payment Advisory Board that is tasked with keeping Medicare costs down while actually protecting seniors' benefits.