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Corwin Ad Fails Truth Test

3:14 PM, May 18, 2011   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In response to attacks that she is favors "essentially eliminating Medicare", Jane Corwin's campaign is out with a new ad that claims her opponent Kathy Hochul supports cuts to the social program; however, the commercial is false.

FactCheck.org, a non-partisan organization, called Corwin's latest spot "completely bogus."

Corwin's commercial includes video of Hochul responding to a question during 2 On Your Side's debate last week. Regarding the deficit, Hochul said, "Everything should be on the table: entitlements, defense spending, but also revenues." The narrator then says, "Kathy Hochul. Cuts to Medicare. Cuts to Social Security."

Factcheck.org's Deputy Director Eugene Kiely said this is the first of several ads his organization will examine. He said this commercial is blatantly misleading.

"All Hochul is saying is that she's putting it on the table," Eugene Kiely told Channel 2. "There's nothing more than a review at that point. There's no plan to cut anything."

Corwin's spokesperson said by putting entitlements "on the table", Hochul is supporting reductions. However, Corwin didn't see it that way during the debate, saying, "I believe it's disingenuous to say everything's on the table but don't touch Medicare and don't touch other programs."

Campaigning in Batavia Tuesday, Hochul dismissed the commercial as dirty politics.

"Absolutely desperation," Hochul said. "Last-minute tactics."

Hochul has been attacking Corwin over her support of the Paul Ryan GOP budget proposal. Corwin said she would have voted for the bill, which passed the U.S. House but failed in the Senate. The proposal would turn Medicare into a voucher program in a decade. Although it would not change Medicare coverage for anyone 55 or older, those younger than 55 would eventually have to purchase their own insurance in the private market.

The federal government would subsidize the cost; however, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the GOP plan would shift more of the cost to seniors, forcing them to pay up to $7,000 more per year, on average. Hochul has claimed her opponent supports "essentially ending Medicare" due to Corwin's support of that bill.

Corwin has long said the changes are needed, because the only other option is Medicare going bankrupt.

Corwin's spokesperson also cited Hochul's support of the Obama health care reforms as evidence that the Democrat would cut Medicare. Spokesperson Matthew Harakal told 2 On Your Side the law cuts $500 billion from Medicare. FactCheck.org determined that assertion is also false.

Many Republicans have made the claim in the past. In reality, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) increases Medicare spending over the next 10 years; however, it does slow the increases to the tune of $500 billion over the decade.

Factcheck.org said using "cuts" is part of an effort to scare seniors. The organization said the PPACA does not cut benefit levels from Medicare:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the House bill would result in "savings" of $219 billion after all increases and decreases are netted out. The House bill would trim projected increases in payments for hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and others, including home health care providers and suppliers of motor-driven wheelchairs. But it also proposes what CBO estimates is a $245 billion increase in spending for doctors, by canceling a scheduled 21 percent cut in physician payments. None of the "savings" or "cuts" (whichever you prefer) come from reducing current or future benefit levels for seniors.

Because the federal government would reduce its reimbursements to Medicare Advantage plans, some seniors would likely lose various extra benefits, "such as gym memberships or spare eyeglasses," according to Factcheck.org. However, benefits offered through Medicare would be unchanged.

AARP, the leading organization for seniors, supported the legislation and says it will "lower prescription drug costs," "strengthen the financial status of the Medicare program," and saves patients and Medicare money.

It's ironic that Corwin blasts Hochul's support of the "$500 billion cut to Medicare" considering Corwin said she would vote for the GOP budget plan, which keeps those "cuts" in place.

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