KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Battle Of The Medicare Ads In Kentucky Senate Race

Media organizations parsed ads by both Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, and GOP incumbent, Sen. Mitch McConnell, and found both sides making inaccurate claims about Medicare.

The Washington Post: A Kentucky Shootout Over Stale Medicare Claims
This pair of ads, which can be viewed with Truth Teller commentary above, hauls out each side’s favorite Medicare attack lines. ... The Democrats’ $6,000 figure is outdated and discredited (note the small type in the ad with citations from 2011). It’s worthy of Four Pinocchios. The Republicans’ $700 billion is a stretch, but at least it’s based on real numbers — and The Washington Post has reported that the reductions in spending for Medicare Advantage have led to thousands of doctors being terminated from the program. We have been monitoring the impact of the cuts but have generally awarded this claim Two Pinocchios (Kessler, 7/11).

Lexington Herald-Leader: McConnell Says Medicare Will Tank Without Changes, But Avoids Specific Solutions
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday that "no action is not a solution" to the solvency threat facing Medicare. ... He did not specify what changes should be made, but in late 2012, as McConnell and other congressional leaders wrangled over a budget deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, The Wall Street Journal reported that McConnell pushed to include an increase in the Medicare eligibility age and higher Medicare premiums for the wealthy (Youngman, 7/11). 

Louisville Courier-Journal: Political Ads Long On Claims, Short On Truth
You can tell it’s getting near election season by the fact that both Alison Lundergan Grimes and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell took to the air with so-called “Medi-scare” ads this week. They are the tried and true method of riling up older voters, the ones most likely to cast ballots, by claiming one’s opponent wants to 1) cut Medicare benefits, 2) raise Medicare deductibles, or 3) do away with Medicare all together. And both the McConnell and Grimes ads, according to the Associated Press, were long on claims but short on truth (Carroll and Gerth, 7/12). 

PolitiFact: McConnell: Opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes Supports Obamacare, $700 Billion In Medicare Cuts
An ad out of the McConnell campaign said, "Grimes supports Obamacare, which cuts $700 billion from seniors’ Medicare." Grimes has been cautiously supportive of the Affordable Care Act, and she certainly does not oppose it as strongly as McConnell does. The law is projected to reduce spending on Medicare by about $700 billion over 10 years, but those reductions in spending are more of a slowed growth rate rather than a budget cut. We rate this claim Half True (Carroll, 7/11).  

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