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“The Democrats are coming for your Medicare,” Republicans are screaming at old people. They want to turn it into “socialism,” yell both Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Donald Trump, demonstrating either how little they understand the program, or how gullible they believe seniors are.
They’re not alone. A number of House Republicans have taken up the call with vulnerable Republican Reps. Bruce Poliquin of Maine, Rod Blum of Iowa, and Claudia Tenney of New York running ads trying to scare seniors by saying that Democrats’ talk of Medicare for All would “end Medicare as we know it” and “Pelosi is at it again, pushing a dangerous Medicare for All scheme that could bankrupt Medicare.”
Which is incredibly ironic given Republicans’ longstanding efforts, courtesy House Speaker Paul Ryan, to privatize Medicare and bankrupt seniors. That’s not to mention Rick Scott’s massive Medicare fraud scandal resulting in the largest-ever fine his hospital company had to pay—$1.7 billion. So his line that Democrats are talking about “stealing money from Medicare” is particularly rich.
It’s a hail mary from Republicans, who know that they are deeply, deeply underwater with voters on health care. They’re 18 points behind Democrats on the issue in a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll during an election in which health care is at or near the top in issues of concern to voters. That’s left Republicans to try to resort to their old anti-Obamacare bag of tricks, saying that anything Democrats try to do to help people out with health care will be taking it away from seniors. They’re hoping to ride out a blue wave of new voters by scaring the crap out of older voters.
Democrats are essentially saying: bring it on. “If we are fighting campaigns on health care, we are winning,” said Tyler Law, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. After all the attempts by Republicans to destroy the Affordable Care Act, it’s just so patently ridiculous, as Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson says. “There’s no question Republicans are going to try to throw spaghetti against the wall on health care. […] But when the walls are closing in on them, spaghetti isn’t going to stop them.”
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