Obama/Romney Play Politics With Medicare
CBS News has a story (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57511466-503544/obama-romney-run-...) which identifies the distortions in political ads recently released by both presidential campaigns. Excerpts:
Both the Obama and the Romney campaigns on Wednesday released TV ads attacking each other over Medicare, and both are somewhat misleading.
The Obama campaign's new ad tells voters that the new AARP voter guide "is out with facts you need on Medicare."
The ad makes assertions about the president's position on Medicare, as well as Mitt Romney's positions, and suggests that AARP backs up these assertions as "fact."
AARP regularly stresses that it is nonpartisan and does not support any candidates.
When the Obama campaign cited the AARP in a similar ad last month to defend its Medicare plan, the lobbying group distanced itself from the ad.
"The next president and Congress will decide the future of Medicare, and the candidates owe voters straight talk - not just 30-second ads - about what their plans will mean for today's seniors and future retirees," AARP senior vice president John Hishta said in a statement. "We were not aware of nor have any involvement with this campaign ad. AARP is a nonpartisan organization and we do not endorse political candidates."
The Romney campaign, meanwhile, released a Spanish-language ad blasting Mr. Obama for making cuts to Medicare while funding a new federal health care program, the Affordable Care Act.
The Romney campaign has regularly charged that the significant cuts to Medicare that Mr. Obama oversaw will undermine the program. The cuts, however, do not limit access to benefits for Medicare recipients, and Mr. Obama's health care law actually gives more benefits to seniors -- including new preventive care benefits and increased prescription drug coverage.
The $716 billion in cuts to Medicare do indeed help pay for parts of the Affordable Care Act, but instead of restricting benefits, the cuts target hospital reimbursements and payments to other providers, as well as Medicare Advantage plans.
Neither candidate is squarely facing the real problems in our health care system. Nor are they really addressing the central problems facing Medicare. By manipulating the information made available to voters, both candidates are attempting to use our nation's interest in a good health care program--Medicare--to win this election.
If you want straight talk about health system reform, you will have to find it outside the political arena. Both major parties are not accustomed to being accountable for how they treat patients. We need a grass roots movement outside of partisan politics to take on the reform of our health care system. The corporate interests which dominate politics through political donations will never cede that territory to the real interests of patients.
Dr. Joe Jarvis