Right next door to NY-26, a GOP freshman is on the defensive over her vote for the House GOP budget and its plan to slash and privatize Medicare.
Rep. Ann Marie-Buerkle (NY-25) is sending flyers to her constituents arguing that phasing out traditional Medicare and replacing it with a program of subsidized private insurance is not privatization. “The plan before Congress will not privatize Medicare or turn it into a “voucher” system,” she claims. And she takes a swipe at Democrats for voting for deep Medicare cuts as part of the health care reform law, even though she just voted to maintain those same cuts.“One of the hidden secrets in the health care law enacted last year is that it cuts $500 billion in Medicare benefits and spends it on new entitlements for people who are not Medicare beneficiaries,” she writes in the flyer. “I voted to stop those cuts.”
It’s true that the 2010 health care law did include hundreds of billions of dollars worth of cuts to Medicare spending — principally from overpayments to private insurers that participate in Medicare Advantage. And Republican candidates and the NRCC did a great job of demagoguing that vote as part of their very successful 2010 midterm campaign. It’s also true that Republicans have voted to rescind those cuts as part of their efforts to repeal the whole health care law.
But — and this is key — every member who voted for the House GOP Budget, including Buerkle, also voted to sustain those cuts. The plan, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) repeals most of the health care law, but does not repeal those Medicare cuts. So Buerkle is having it both ways here.
Check out the flyer, sent this way by one of her constituents, here.