Sound familiar? 6th District ad battle picks up with dueling Medicare accusations

08/23/2012 09:00 PM

The 6th Congressional District candidates wasted little time in trading accusations on air in a rapid-fire succession of ads about Medicare.

Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler and Republican challenger Andy Barr essentially are picking up where they left off in the 2010 race — with Chandler accusing Barr of supporting policies that will erode the health program for retirees and Barr parrying by saying Chandler and the Democrats are putting the program at risk by ignoring its financial precariousness.

Chandler’s ad features Todd Gardner of Carlisle. He is dressed in jeans and a Carhartt work shirt – representing the working man. “Andy Barr wants to privatize medicare. I hear it will raise costs to seniors to six to seven thousand dollars more a year to cut taxes to help the wealthy,” Gardner says.

The plan the ad refers to is the budget proposal drafted by Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, who is now the GOP’s vice presidential candidate. In a June 2011 interview with Politico, Barr said he would have voted in favor of Ryan’s budget proposal.

Chandler, along with every other House Democrat, voted against the Ryan Budget.

Ryan, along with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, proposed a plan in which seniors purchase their own health insurance but then get reimbursed through Medicare in a voucher-like program.

Barr, a Lexington lawyer who fell 648 votes shy of unseating Chandler two years ago, wasted little time in launching a response ad. Barr’s commercial shows the candidate sitting at a table sharing coffee with a group of seniors and talking about Medicare.

“Washington’s a mess, and it’s endangering programs like medicare,” Barr tells the group in his ad. “Obamacare makes the problem worse. It cuts $500 billion dollars out of a system that’s already broken. If we do nothing, the Medicare trust fund will be bankrupt in 12 years.”

In June 2011, the Washington Post checked the claim that the Affordable Care Act would cut $500 billion in Medicare. At that time, Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann made similar claims during the Republican primary.

The newspaper found the statements at that time to be “technically correct but misleading.”


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.