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Rank Hypocrisy: Bill Cassidy Raising Money By Attacking Exact Same Medicare Savings He Voted For In the Ryan Budget

The Difference: ACA Extends the Solvency of Medicare While Cassidy Would Use It To Finance Tax Breaks For Billionaires

Cassidy Voted To Raise Retirement Age To 70, Privatize Medicare & Turn It Into a Voucher Program

New Orleans, Louisiana – In what can only be described as a stunning act of hypocrisy, Bill Cassidy is trying to raise money this week by attacking the exact same Medicare savings under ACA that he voted for in Rep. Paul Ryan’s budgets.

In a fundraising email sent yesterday, Bill Cassidy wrote:

“Medicare is a sacred trust. Our seniors paid into Medicare their entire working lives and they deserve the benefits they paid for. That’s why it’s wrong that Obamacare cut billions of dollars from Medicare.”

A poignant line of attack… except that the  “cuts” savings Bill Cassidy is now attacking – and raising money from – are the exact same savings included in Rep. Paul Ryan’s budgets, which Cassidy voted for repeatedly.

As one reporter put it, “For the third election in a row, Republicans are attacking Democrats for Medicare cuts that are in the GOP’s own budget proposal.” The only difference: the ACA uses Medicare savings to extend the solvency of Medicare for nine years, while Cassidy would have used the savings to finance massive tax breaks for billionaires.

In his fundraising email, Cassidy continues (emphasis added):

“If you would like to stay updated on my efforts to protect Medicare please join my campaign team.”

Right. The guy (Bill Cassidy) who voted to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 70, to privatize Medicare by turning it into a voucher program, and to force seniors to pay $6,800 more for their health care each year now says that he is fighting to protect Medicare.

“There’s only one candidate in Louisiana who wants to slash health care benefits for seniors and that’s Bill Cassidy, who voted to raise the retirement age to 70, end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program and force 600,000 Louisiana seniors to pay thousands more for their health care each year,” said Campaign for Louisiana Communications Director Andrew Zucker. “Bill Cassidy is raising campaign cash by attacking Medicare savings that he voted for himself, and he has repeatedly voted to slash Medicare for seniors, making his blustering about Medicare the textbook definition of hypocrisy. Cassidy knows this – he just doesn’t care, and he’s hoping that Louisianians simply won’t notice.”

BACKGROUND

Bill Cassidy Voted For The FY 2014 Republican Study Committee “Back To Basics” Budget Plan. [H.Con.Res.25, Vote #86, 3/20/13]

  • The Republican Study Committee Budget Would Increase The Social Security Retirement Age To 70. “This budget would slowly phase in an increase in the Social Security full-retirement age for individuals born in 1962 (currently 51) and after to an eventual full retirement age of 70.” [Republican Study Committee FY 2014 Budget, accessed 5/10/13]
  • The Republican Study Committee Budget Would Increase The Medicare Retirement Age To 70. “To address the increased demands on Medicare, this budget proposes raising the age of Medicare eligibility, beginning in 2024, by two months every year beginning with those born in 1959 until the eligibility age reaches 70, bringing Medicare eligibility in parity with Social Security.” [Republican Study Committee FY 2014 Budget, accessed 5/10/13]

Cassidy Voted For The Republican Budget Blueprint For FY 2012 That Ends Medicare As We Know It. In April 2011, Cassidy voted for the House Republican budget blueprint drafted by Paul Ryan that effectively ends Medicare. It calls for converting Medicare for persons currently younger than 55 into a “premium support system” through which the government would pay private insurance companies directly for each enrollee. The resolution was adopted 235-193. [H Con Res 34, Vote 277, 4/15/11]

  • Bill Cassidy Also Voted for The House Republican Budgets For FY 2013 And FY 2014. In March 2012, Bill Cassidy voted for the House Republican Budget for FY 2013. The budget resolution was adopted 228-191. In March 2013, Bill Cassidy voted for the House Republican budget for FY 2014. The budget resolution was adopted, 221-207. [H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12; H Con Res 112, Vote #88, 3/21/13]
  • Louisiana Would Be Forced To Pay $6,800 More Per Year. According to a report by the Joint Economic Committee, the average Louisiana senior would be forced to pay $6,830.40 more in out of pocket expenses under the Ryan budget plan. [Joint Economic Committee, 5/20/11]
  • Potentially 654,375 Louisiana Seniors Would Be Forced Out Of Traditional Medicare And Into A Voucher  Program. Under the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it, all Louisiana seniors will receive  a voucher instead of guaranteed benefits under traditional Medicare beginning in 2024. For the 654,375 Louisianans aged 45-54 at the time of the most recent Census, the value of their vouchers would be capped at growth levels that are lower than the projected increases in health care costs, forcing them to spend more out of pocket and diminishing their access to quality care. Private insurance plans will aggressively pursue the healthiest, least expensive enrollees, thereby allowing Medicare – currently the lifeline for 718,037 Louisiana seniors – to “wither on the vine.” [House Republican Budget, 3/12/13; CAP, 3/20/12; Census, accessed on 3/10/13; KFF, accessed on 3/10/13]
  • The Ryan Plan “Would End Traditional Medicare By Capping Spending And Offer Vouchers To Buy Private Insurance.” “The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that Obama pushed for doesn’t cut Medicare; it simply reduces projected future increases in costs by $700 billion over 10 years. […] Those same reductions in the future growth of Medicare are contained in the budget bills sponsored by Ryan and approved by the same House Republicans who now say they’ll campaign against the provision. Romney has endorsed the Ryan plan. The difference is the savings in the Republican bill don’t go to help seniors with their prescription drug costs. In fact, Ryan’s legislation increases the amount senior citizens will have to pay for drugs since it repeals the health-care legislation that provides the extra subsidy. Ryan’s budget bill also would end traditional Medicare by capping spending and offer vouchers to buy private insurance.” [Bloomberg, 8/13/12]
  • The Ryan Plan “Would Essentially End Medicare.” “Republicans will present this week a 2012 budget proposal that would cut more than $4 trillion from federal spending projected over the next decade and transform the Medicare health program for the elderly, a move that will dramatically reshape the budget debate in Washington. The budget has been prepared by Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, and it represents the most complete attempt so far by Republicans to make good on their promises during the 2010 midterm elections to cut government spending and deficits. Though Rep. Ryan based the Medicare portion of his budget on a previous plan created in collaboration with a Democrat, Alice Rivlin, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and long-time budget expert, the current plan isn’t likely to get much Democratic support. Instead, it will set up a broad debate over spending and the role of government heading into the 2012 general election. The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]
  • All Of The Ryan Budget Have The Same Medicare Savings As The Affordable Care Act. “The same cuts were included in House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) blueprint to partially privatize Medicare and remake the federal budget, which Republicans in both chambers voted overwhelmingly for back in March. The same Medicare cuts were also included in Ryan’s budgets in 2012 and 2011, which similarly passed the Republican-led House and received overwhelming GOP support in the Democratic-led Senate.” [Talking Points Memo, 12/4/13]
  • Tax Policy Center: GOP Budget Increases After-Tax Income for Millionaires by 20 Percent. As reported by the Washington Post, “The tax plan embedded in the House Republican budget would cut taxes by $5.7 trillion over the next decade, with the benefits flowing disproportionately to very wealthy households, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Taxpayers earning more than $1 million a year would benefit the most from the GOP tax plan, the analysis shows, reaping an average $400,000 tax break that would send their after-tax income soaring by nearly 20 percent.” [Washington Post, 3/15/13]

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