The Republican Party's Medicare Hypocrisy

December 07, 2009 6:04 pm ET

While Democratic health care reform proposals bolster Medicare by virtually eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse, Republicans rely on a false line of attack, insisting legislation would lead to benefit cuts.  Despite their hollow rhetoric, Republicans have a long track record of philosophically opposing Medicare and actively seeking to reduce its funding.

The GOP's shocking hypocrisy is laid out below: since 1991, Senate Republicans have voted to slash $1.31 trillion from Medicare while their Republican counterparts in the House voted to take over $1 trillion away from America's seniors.

102nd Congress: January 3, 1991 - January 3, 1993

House

102nd Congress (membership exceeds 435 due to at-large members, resignations, etc.)
270 Democrats
1 Independent
170 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 102nd Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

89 House Republicans Voted To Cut Medicare $25.2 Billion Over Five Years. In 1991, 89 House Republicans proposed and voted for a substitute amendment to the Fiscal 1992 Budget Resolution that would have cut Medicare $25.2 billion over five years. The substitute amendment, introduced by Rep. Gradison (R-OH), was rejected. [CQ.com; H. Con. Res. 121, Vote # 70, 4/17/91]

105 House Republicans Voted To Cut Medicare $27.2 Billion Over Five Years.  In 1991, 105 Republicans voted in support of a substitute amendment introduced by Rep. Kasich (R-OH) to the Fiscal 1992 Budget Resolution that would have implemented cuts in Medicare. Specifically, the substitute amendment would have "cut entitlement programs by $6.4 billion in fiscal 1992 and $48.6 billion over five years, including cuts in Medicare, totaling $27.2 billion over five years." The motion was rejected. [CQ.com; H. Con. Res. 121, Vote #69, 4/17/91]

57 House Republicans Voted To Cut Medicare And Medicaid $138.4 Billion Over Five Years.  In 1992, 57 House Republicans voted for a substitute amendment to the Fiscal 1993 Budget Resolution - Spending Freeze introduced by Rep. Dannemeyer (R-CA) that would have "cut Medicare and Medicaid entitlement programs by $138.4 billion over five years." The substitute amendment was rejected. [CQ.com; H. Con. Res. 287, Vote # 38, 3/4/92]

Senate

102nd Congress (membership exceeds 100 due to resignations, etc.)
58 Democrats
44 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 102nd Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

This Senate session did not cast votes pertaining specifically to Medicare cuts.

103rd Congress: January 3, 1993 - January 3, 1995

House

103rd Congress (membership exceeds 435 due to at-large members, resignations, etc.)
265 Democrats
1 Independent
181 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 103rd Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

156 House Republicans Voted To Cut $34 Billion From Medicare. In 1993, 156 House Republicans voted for an "amendment to cut federal spending by $90 billion over five years through various proposals, including $34 billion in Medicare cuts, $52 billion of discretionary spending cuts and $4 billion in other entitlement cuts and user fee increases." The motion failed. [CQ.com; HR 3400, Vote #609, 11/22/93]

Senate

103rd Congress (membership exceeds 100 due to resignations, etc.)
57 Democrats
0 Independents
45 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 103rd Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

This Senate session did not cast votes pertaining specifically to Medicare cuts.

104th Congress: January 3, 1995 - January 3, 1997

House

104th Congress (membership exceeds 435 due to at-large members, resignations, etc.)
208 Democrats
2 Independents
236 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 104th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

227 House Republicans Voted Twice To Cut Medicare By $270 Billion.  In October 1995, 227 Republicans voted for the misnamed Medicare Preservation Act of 1995, which cut $270 billion from Medicare over seven years.  The bill passed.  In November 1995, 232 Republicans voted to adopt the conference report on the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1995, which reduced spending on Medicare by $270 billion over seven years.  The bill passed. [HR 2425, Vote #731, 10/19/95; HR 2481, Vote #812, 11/17/95]

  • 84 House Republicans Voted To Cut An Additional $22.6 Billion From Medicare.  In 1995, 84 House Republicans voted for the Conservative Republican Substitute to the FY 1996 Budget Resolution.  The substitute bill would have cut Medicare by an additional $22.6 billion, on top of the $270 billion in cuts already contained in the budget.  The amendment failed.  [H.C.R. 67, Vote #343, 5/18/95]

212 House Republicans Voted To Cut Medicare By $158.1 Billion.  In 1996, 212 House Republicans voted to adopt the conference report on the Fiscal Year 1997 Budget Resolution, which contained $158.1 billion in Medicare cuts over six years.  The bill passed. [H.C.R. 178, Vote #236, 6/12/96]

Senate

104th Congress (membership exceeds 100 due to resignations, etc.)
48 Democrats
55 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 104th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

Senate Republicans Cut $270 Billion From Medicare.  More than 50 Republicans voted in favor of a budget that would cut Medicare by $270 billion. The budget passed.

  • 52 Republican Senators voted in favor.  [H.R. 2491, Vote #584, 11/17/1995]
  • 52 Republican Senators voted in favor.  [H.R. 2491, Vote #556, 10/27/1995]
  • 54 Republican Senators voted in favor. [H.C.R. 67, Vote #296, 6/29/95]

52 Republican Senators Voted Against Reducing Medicare Cuts By $181 Billion In Favor Of Tax Cuts For The Wealthy.  In 1995, 52 Republicans voted against a motion reducing cuts to Medicare by $181 billion by reducing tax cuts for upper income taxpayers. The motion was rejected 46-53. [S. 1357, Vote #499, 10/26/95] 

51 Republican Senators Voted To Maintain Tax Cuts Instead Of Reducing Medicare Cuts By $100 Billion.  In 1995, 51 Republicans voted against an amendment to reduce by $100 billion the cuts to Medicare and Medicaid by reducing tax cuts. The amendment failed 46-52. [S.C.R. 13, Vote #173, 5/22/95]

50 Republican Senators Voted Against Increasing Medicare Payments To Hospitals By $14.5 Billion.  50 Senators voted against an amendment restoring $14.5 billion in payments under Medicare to hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of poor patients. The amendment failed 47-52. [S 1357, Vote #524, 10/27/95]

52 Republican Senators Voted To Preserve Tax Cuts For The Wealthy Instead Of Reducing Medicare Cuts By $181 Billion.  52 Republicans voted against a motion reducing cuts to Medicare by $181 billion by reducing tax cuts for upper income taxpayers. The motion was rejected 46-53. [S 1357, Vote #499, 10/26/95]

54 Republican Senators Voted In Favor Of Cutting $270 Billion From Medicare.  54 Republicans voted to adopt the conference report on the fiscal 1996 budget resolution to put in place a seven-year plan to balance the budget by 2002 by cutting projected spending by $894 billion, including cuts of $270 billion from Medicare, $182 billion from Medicaid, $190 billion in non-defense spending, and $175 billion from various entitlement programs such as welfare. The conference report was agreed to 54-46. [HCR 67, Vote #296, 6/29/95]

54 Republican Senators Voted To Cut Medicare By $256 Billion.  54 Republican Senators voted to adopt the resolution to adopt a seven-year budget plan that would balance the budget by 2002 by cutting projected spending by $961 billion of which $256 billion would come from Medicare, $175 billion from Medicaid, $190 billion from non-defense discretionary spending, and $209 billion from various entitlement programs. The concurrent resolution was agreed to 57-42. [SCR 13, Vote #232, 5/25/95]

51 Republican Senators Voted To Maintain Tax Cuts For The Wealthy Instead Of Reducing Medicare Cuts By $100 Billion.  51 Republicans Senators voted against an amendment to reduce by $100 billion the proposed cuts of $256 billion to Medicare and Medicaid by reducing tax cuts. The amendment failed 46-52. [SCR 13, Vote #173, 5/22/95]

53 Republican Senators Voted In Favor Of Cutting Medicare Nearly $160 Billion Over Six Years.  53 Republican Senators voted to cut Medicare by $158.1 billion over six years.  The measure passed 53-46.  [H.C.R. 178, Vote #156, 5/23/1996]

  • Budget Cuts Included Reductions In Medicare, Medicare, Welfare, And Discretionary Spending.  53 Republican Senators voted in favor of adopting of the conference report on the concurrent resolution to establish a six-year plan to balance the federal budget by 2002. Projected spending cuts over six years include $158.1 billion in Medicare, $72 billion from Medicaid, $53 billion from welfare and $297.9 billion from discretionary spending. The conference report passed 53-46. [HCR 178, Vote #159, 6/13/96]

105th Congress: January 3, 1997 - January 3, 1999

House

105th Congress (membership exceeds 435 due to at-large members, resignations, etc.)
212 Democrats
2 Independents
231 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 105th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

219 House Republicans Voted To Cut $115 Billion From Medicare.  In 1997, 219 House Republicans voted for passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which "cut total projected entitlement spending over five years by about $137 billion, including a $115 billion reduction in Medicare." The bill passed. [CQ.com; HR 2015, Vote #241, 6/25/97]

Senate

105th Congress (membership exceeds 100 due to resignations, etc.)
45 Democrats
0 Independents
55 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 105th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

This Senate session did not cast votes pertaining specifically to Medicare cuts.

107th Congress: January 3, 2001 - January 3, 2003

House

107th Congress (membership exceeds 435 due to at-large members, resignations, etc.)
214 Democrats
2 Independents
228 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 107th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

206 House Republicans Voted To Kill A Resolution That Would "Repeal Cuts In Payments To Hospitals That Serve Low-Income Patients...And Ensure Necessary Medicare And Medicaid Funding." In 2002, Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) introduced a resolution that would "express the sense of the House that Congress should" work on legislation that would repeal cuts to health programs, including Medicare.  Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-MO) motioned to table the resolution, effectively killing it with the agreement of 206 Republican votes.  The motion to table passed. [CQ.com; accessed 12/4/09; HR 854, Vote #440, 10/3/02]

Senate

107th Congress (membership exceeds 100 due to resignations, etc.)
50 Democrats
2 Republicans
53 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 107th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

This Senate session did not cast votes pertaining specifically to Medicare cuts.

108th Congress: January 3, 2003 - January 3, 2005

House

108th Congress (membership exceeds 435 due to at-large members, resignations, etc.)
208 Democrats
1 Independent
232 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 108th Congress, 12/7/09]

208 House Republicans Voted Against A Measure That Would Take Medicare Competition Savings And Put It Toward Increasing Payments To Medicare Physicians.  In 2003, 208 House Republicans voted against a "motion to instruct House conferees to reject provisions of the House bill that require the traditional Medicare program to compete with private plans to provide Medicare benefits by 2010, and reject provisions of the Senate bill that establish an alternative payment system for preferred provider organizations in highly competitive regions. The savings from the rejection of these provisions would be used to increase payments to physicians for Medicare services." The motion was rejected.  [CQ.com; HR 1, Vote #615, 11/6/03]

215 House Republicans Voted Against Increasing Medicare Payments To Rural Hospitals.  In 2003, 215 House Republicans voted against a "motion to recommit the joint resolution to the House Appropriations Committee with instructions that it be reported back with language that would continue payment rates for physician services under Medicare at fiscal 2002 levels and increase the base payment amount that hospitals in small urban and rural areas receive through Medicare to the same as that for larger urban hospitals." The motion failed.  [CQ.com; H J Res 18, Vote #18, 2/5/03]

Senate

108th Congress (membership exceeds 100 due to resignations, etc.)
48 Democrats
1 Independent
51 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 108th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

51 Republican Senators Tabled An Amendment That Would Have Given The Sickest Seniors $12 Billion In Medicare Funding.  51 Republican Senators voted to table an amendment that would have allocated $12 billion for additional treatment for Medicare beneficiaries with cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and disabilities. The motion to table passed 57-41. [S. 1, Vote #253, 6/26/03]

49 Republican Senators Voted To Put Needs Of Wealthy Americans Over The Needs Of American Seniors.  49 Republican Senators voted against an amendment that would reduce the enormous tax cut given to the wealthiest American tax payers in order to give a fair reimbursement to rural health care providers under Medicare. The amendment failed.  [SCR 23, Vote #89, 3/25/03]

50 Republican Senators Voted Against Increasing Medicare And Medicaid Funding By $4.1 Billion.  50 Republican Senators voted against a measure which would have increased funding for health care programs under Medicare and Medicaid by $4.1 billion. The motion was rejected 41-56. [HJR 2, Vote #21, 1/23/03]

109th Congress: January 3, 2005 - January 3, 2007

House

109th Congress (membership exceeds 435 due to at-large members, resignations, etc.)
204 Democrats
1 Independent
236 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 109th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

This House session did not cast votes pertaining specifically to Medicare cuts.

Senate

109th Congress (membership exceeds 100 due to resignations, etc.)
45 Democrats
1 Independent
55 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 109th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

50 Republican Senators Voted To Cut Medicare By $6.4 Billion.  50 Republican Senators voted in favor of the budget reconciliation bill that cut funding for Medicare by $6.4 billion by requiring that beneficiaries purchase medical equipment and cutting payments to home health care providers. The motion passed 50-50, with Vice President Cheney casting the deciding vote. [S. 1932, Vote #363, 12/21/05]

50 Republican Senators Cut $5.78 Billion From Medicare.  50 Republican Senators voted in favor of passage of a Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Resolution that would cut $5.78 billion from Medicare. The legislation passed 52-47.  [S. 1932, Vote #303, 11/3/05]

110th Congress: January 3, 2007 - January 3, 2009

House

110th Congress (membership exceeds 435 due to at-large members, resignations, etc.)
246 Democrats
0 Independents
207 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 110th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

59 House Republicans Voted To Cut $20 Billion From Medicare Physician Reimbursement.  In 2008, 59 House Republicans voted to maintain a 10.6% scheduled cut in reimbursement rates for doctors serving patients who receive Medicare. The motion passed. [Kaiser Health News, 7/16/08; HR 6331, Vote #443, 6/24/08]

Senate

110th Congress (membership exceeds 100 due to resignations, etc.)
49 Democrats
2 Independents
51 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 110th Congress, accessed 12/7/09]

This Senate session did not cast votes pertaining specifically to Medicare cuts.

111th Congress: January 3, 2009 - January 3, 2011

House

111th Congress, 1st Session (membership exceeds 435 due to at-large members, resignations, etc.)
267 Democrats
0 Independents
178 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 111th Congress - 1st Session, accessed 12/7/09]

172 House Republicans Voted To Cut $210 Billion From Medicare Physician Reimbursement. In 2009, 172 House Republicans voted against blocking "a 21 percent cut scheduled to take effect in January 2010, and increase the payment rate based on the Medicare economic index." The vote would have restored $210 billion in scheduled physician reimbursements. The measure failed. [Congressional Quarterly, accessed 12/4/09; New York Times, 11/19/09; HR 3961; Vote #909, 11/19/09]

Senate

111th Congress, 1st Session (membership exceeds 100 due to resignations, etc.)
62 Democrats
2 Independents
42 Republicans
[Projects.WashingtonPost.com, 111th Congress - 1st Session, accessed 12/7/09]

At posting time, the current Senate was currently debating health care reform and a full tally of Medicare votes was not yet available.

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