ANALYSIS: Finding the facts as Medicare resurfaces as key issue in Barr vs. Chandler race

09/27/2012 03:24 PM

LEXINGTON — Using a senior center as a backdrop, U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, on Thursday made his latest pitch to “protect Medicare,” the health care program for retirees that has become the star issue in the 6th congressional district race.

Chandler spoke to 60 seniors at the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Senior Center, which sits in the shadow of Albert B. Chandler Medical Center, named after Chandler’s late grandfather, the former U.S. Senator and governor.

After apologizing for the negative ads in the 6th District race, Chandler told the group not to trust everything in political ads. And there’s been a lot to question from both sides.

Chandler spoke alongside former U.S. Senator Wendell Ford, who talked about the ads and why Chandler is the best choice in this election.

Ford addressed the $716 billion elephant in the room — the amount Barr claims Chandler voted in favor of taking from Medicare through the Affordable Care Act. (Chandler voted against the original Affordable Care Act in 2010 but has voted not to repeal it).

But, the accusation does not mesh with the facts, said Ford.

The Affordable Care Act does make $716 billion in spending reductions from the Bush-era Medicare Advantage, in which Medicare funds go to private insurance companies. And some of the cuts mean less money to providers. Here is how Politifact broke down that debate when U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan made the same claim against President Obama.

But Chandler also has used his commercials to say that the Republican budget plan as proposed by Ryan would cost seniors an extra $6,400 in health care costs.

Politifact said that claim is half-true. The original version of the Ryan plan was found by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, to increase those costs to seniors. However, Ryan’s newest version of his budget could not be analyzed by Politifact due to the lack of details on the new plan.

Ryan’s new plan would fundamentally change how Medicare works, it would allow seniors to choose private health insurance and then be reimbursed by Medicare.

Barr sat down with Pure Politics in June and part of the discussion centered around his positions on Medicare. Here is what he said about the Ryan budget and what he would like to see in legislation:


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