Back in the summer, a National Republican Campaign Committee memo and video laid out their incredibly cynical “dodge and deflect” strategy on Medicare.  In a nutshell, the GOP plan has been to avoid talking about their universally unpopular plan to end traditional Medicare by replacing it with a privatized CouponCare plan.  To do that, they’ve stuck to the thoroughly debunked and disproven meme that “Obamacare” cuts Medicare.  As Max Richtman, NCPSSM’s President/CEO said in August:

“The GOP strategy for their candidates is clear — simply don’t talk about the GOP plans for seniors in Medicare. Talk about the Affordable Care Act, instead.  If you get a question about the Ryan budget? “Obamacare robs Medicare”.  Get a question about the GOP plan to end Medicare?  “Obamacare robs Medicare”.  What about raising seniors’ preventative care and prescription costs?  “Obamacare robs Medicare”.  You get the idea. The strategy is to continue to tell seniors their benefits were cut, even though they weren’t.  Ignore the fact that health care reform preserves every dime of Medicare benefits while the GOP/Ryan plan uses that money to pay for millionaire tax breaks.  Disregard the 32 million seniors who have already received new preventive benefits through ACA. Don’t talk about the closing of the Part D donut hole or the $3.1 billion dollars in real savings seniors have already seen in their prescription drug coverage.  And whatever you do, absolutely never, ever, let on that the same GOP candidates — decrying Medicare reforms falsely labeled as benefit cuts in the Affordable Care Act — voted for those same provisions  when they passed the GOP/Ryan budget.  At the same time by the way, Republicans also voted to end Medicare leaving seniors at the mercy of private insurers to face higher costs for less coverage.” 

Incredibly, a new Kaiser Health News poll shows that once again GOP Mediscare tactics (remember the fake “death panels” claim from the last presidential election) work.

“Most troublesome for Obama is that, among likely voters, GOP candidate Mitt Romney has pulled nearly even with him on which candidate would do a better job with Medicare — an issue that resonates in battleground states with large elderly populations, such as Florida and Pennsylvania. Obama’s advantage on that question has shrunk despite the fact that six in 10 likely voters continue to oppose Romney’s idea of changing Medicare to a premium support system, in which the government would guarantee each senior a fixed amount of money to help them purchase coverage. Overall, about 46 percent of voters said they prefer Obama on Medicare compared with 41 percent for Romney, a gap that is not statistically significant. In September, Obama held a 16-point lead on the Medicare question.” AARP Bulletin Today

Like us, you’re probably wondering: “How can voters say they trust Romney/Ryan on Medicare when the majority of those same people oppose their plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program?”  All we can say is – scare tactics work.  Especially during campaign season where fear and propaganda are tools used to manipulate Americans into voting against their own self interests.

As you prepare to go to the polls next week please remember and share these basic truths about the future of Medicare with friends and family who will all have a stake in this vital program. On day one of a Romney administration, current seniors (not those 54 and younger) would lose free preventive benefits and annual wellness exams, prescription drug and premium costs will increase by hundreds of dollars per year, the Part D donut hole returns, private insurance companies get their taxpayer handouts back, and Medicare would be bankrupt by the end of a Romney first term.

Our children and grandchildren will face an even worse future as traditional Medicare is ended in favor of a Romney/Ryan CouponCare plan in which retirees will once again be at the mercy of private insurers.  Retirees will pay more for less coverage while private insurance companies reap the profits. 

While it’s clear this isn’t the Medicare most Americans want in their retirement or for future generations, what remains to be seen is if they understand it’s their vote on Tuesday that will determine Medicare’s future.