New Politifact Lie of the Year: Republicans voted to kill Medicare

posted at 2:05 pm on December 20, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

I wonder whether this award will have those conservatives blasting politically-motivated “fact check” operations rethinking that criticism?  Naaaah.  Why let a little inconsistency ruin one’s vindication?

Republicans muscled a budget through the House of Representatives in April that they said would take an important step toward reducing the federal deficit. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the plan kept Medicare intact for people 55 or older, but dramatically changed the program for everyone else by privatizing it and providing government subsidies.

Democrats pounced. Just four days after the party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a Web ad that said seniors will have to pay $12,500 more for health care “because Republicans voted to end Medicare.”

Rep. Steve Israel of New York, head of the DCCC, appeared on cable news shows and declared that Republicans voted to “terminate Medicare.” A Web video from the Agenda Project, a liberal group, said the plan would leave the country “without Medicare” and showed a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. And just last month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a fundraising appeal that said: “House Republicans’ vote to end Medicare is a shameful act of betrayal.”

After two years of being pounded by Republicans with often false charges about the 2010 health care law, the Democrats were turning the tables.

PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members.

Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.

Actually, Robert VerBruggen at National Review did decide to rain on the schadenfreude parade, saying that this actually demonstrates the point about politically-motivated “fact-checking”:

“Ignor[ing]” something may have the effect of presenting an incomplete picture, but it’s not a “lie,” and official Democratic propaganda does not purport to offer a complete picture. The second point is considerably stronger — people who don’t follow politics could have gotten the impression that the government would no longer help seniors with their health care at all, and “privatize” and “voucherize” are far more precise words than “end” — but even these claims are well within the bounds of normal political discourse: The Ryan plan is a deep, serious reform — it ends some of the program’s major features, and if traditional-Medicare supporters see those features as the core of the program, it’s fair for them to say it ends the program. And regarding point three, as Matthew Yglesias points out, only the elderly are eligible for Medicare, so it makes sense to use the elderly in ads, even if today’s elderly aren’t the ones affected.

Well, I think VerBruggen misses the forest for the trees.  PolitiFact checked to see whether Republicans had indeed voted to kill Medicare.  The answer is an obvious, and resounding, no.  The Ryan plan did not kill or end Medicare, not for today’s seniors, and not even for tomorrow’s or next year’s seniors.  It transformed a future Medicare from a defined-benefit plan to a defined-contribution plan, based in no small part on the framework Democrats pushed in ObamaCare.  The government would still offer Medicare benefits, albeit in a different form, and would even have a fairly similar “public option” plan as a choice in the Medicare “exchange,” in a similar arrangement seniors had before ObamaCare gutted Medicare Advantage.

That’s the lie, not the few nits that Verbruggen picks with the supporting argument from PolitiFact, with some justification.  Is it the Lie of the Year?  That could be debatable, but it certainly was a significant one, and it really didn’t take PolitiFact to confirm that.

Update: FactCheck included it as one of the four “whoppers” of the year.  Their choices are bipartisan, two from each side, but the last one smacks Barack Obama hard:

  • The new health care law won’t cost many jobs (and they’ll be poorly paying jobs at that).
  • Republicans aren’t proposing to “end” Medicare (and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden has signed onto a modified version of the GOP plan).
  • Most of the “millionaires” who would pay higher tax rates under a Democratic proposal aren’t job-creating small-business owners.
  • President Obama’s mother didn’t really fight to get health insurance coverage as she was dying.

I covered that one earlier this year.


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Everything Krugman/Mephistopheles wrote in 2012 is a big fat lie.

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Is there any part of the Democrat’s National agenda that Isn’t based on a Lie?

Chip on December 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

I dream that Nany Pelosi is in that wheel chair, and it is me pushing her over the cliff!

KOOLAID2 on December 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Ugly inside and out, and a Liar extraordinaire!

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

What happens when it goes broke?

How many people will it help then?

Or is it the case where the Socialists in the National Democratic Party want to use Medicare to buy votes and don’t care what happens to the elderly when it crashes and burns?

Chip on December 20, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Is there any part of the Democrat’s National agenda that Isn’t based on a Lie?

Chip on December 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I think the more difficult question would be to ask if they ever tell the truth.
(not OT either!…look at the doucheb@g that posted in front of you!)

KOOLAID2 on December 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

I wonder whether this award will have those conservatives blasting politically-motivated “fact check” operations rethinking that criticism? Naaaah. Why let a little inconsistency ruin one’s vindication?

Well, they pick Republican lies last year and the year before, and even in fact checking this lie they heap a lot of criticism on conservatives.

How exactly is this proof that they’re not biased? Maybe they’re not, but one data point certainly doesn’t prove it.

Esthier on December 20, 2011 at 2:17 PM

I’m shocked that Politifact chose this. Maybe they do want to be taken seriously.

Go RBNY on December 20, 2011 at 2:17 PM

The new health care law won’t cost many jobs (and they’ll be poorly paying jobs at that).

Projections are not “facts”.

forest on December 20, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Too much stupid in this post. Of course we hate old people. That’s why we kept making fun of McCain for being too old last election and being too tortured to use a computer properly – oh wait.

Also, programs that are in debt and currently on track to implode are generally not considered good “as is.”

We really need better trolls.

Esthier on December 20, 2011 at 2:19 PM

So let the Democrats continue as is. They’ll end up KILLING medicare simply by being unable to pay future bills.

Is Billy Clinton giving parsing lessons now?

GarandFan on December 20, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Took the same multi-cultural, nonsense courses in college as Obama. Then, straight into do-gooding social activism.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Is there any part of the Democrat’s National agenda that Isn’t based on a Lie?

Chip on December 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I think the more difficult question would be to ask if they ever tell the truth.
(not OT either!…look at the doucheb@g that posted in front of you!)

KOOLAID2 on December 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Yes, Like a political party would do that to a large constituency.

You’d think that they would realize that Lies have to make sense on certain levels to be effective.

They can’t just rely on the Socialist, National Media to make the lies into the truth, eventually they are found out and they lose all credibility.

Chip on December 20, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Subhead on this post should read, “Grandma didn’t get run over by a Ryan, dear.”

stuiec on December 20, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Is this all you can conjure Saruman?

dernst2 on December 20, 2011 at 2:27 PM

If only Pravda could have the journalistic integrity our media has.

acyl72 on December 20, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Don’t wast your lotion…

Seven Percent Solution on December 20, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Republicans would end Medicare as we know it.

Which is good, because Medicare as we know it is financially unsustainable and has us all headed over a cliff.

taznar on December 20, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Most old People are Republicans.

Try again.

portlandon on December 20, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

This is why open registrations are such a nightmare.

search4truth on December 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Subhead on this post should read, “Grandma didn’t get run over by a Ryan, dear.”

stuiec on December 20, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Heh. You win an internetz.

JeffWeimer on December 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Remember how Democrats were madly, hopelessly in love with the Speical Prosecutor Law until the 1990s, when the Republicans unleashed Ken Starr, first on the Paula Jones/Whitewater issues and then on Monicagate and Bill Clinton? Same deal here — Democrats thought PolitiFact was the bees knees until this, because they thought the people doing it were going to be 100 percent in their favor.

To find out the PolitiFact is only general liberal, as opposed to being doctrinaire liberal, is what’s making them so angry today — Those people are traitors! — though whether or not this does for their love of fact checking what Monicagate did for their love of the Special Prosecutor’s position remains to be seen.

jon1979 on December 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Seven Percent Solution on December 20, 2011 at 2:31 PM

No, no, no. It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.

JeffWeimer on December 20, 2011 at 2:41 PM

We really need better trolls.

Esthier on December 20, 2011 at 2:19 PM

That last round of open registration brought in some dandies. Gonna take a while to weed ‘em out Esthier!

Tim Zank on December 20, 2011 at 2:41 PM

It’s not

Grandma didn’t get run over by a Ryan.

It’s

Grandma didn’t get run over by a Ryan, Dear.

TheCulturalist on December 20, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Most old People are Republicans.

Try again.

portlandon on December 20, 2011 at 2:34 PM

And most black people vote Democrat.

That’s benefited them a whole lot, hasn’t it?

MelonCollie on December 20, 2011 at 2:49 PM

(forgot the /sarc tag on that)

MelonCollie on December 20, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Dude…

… I enjoy your posts, I really do, but a little “(content warning)” message would be helpful.

Somethings you just can’t unsee…

/

Seven Percent Solution on December 20, 2011 at 2:52 PM

My doctor no long takes any new MC patients. I read the break down from CMS on a dr bill and can see why. They only pay one third of the cost of the bill and doctors have to accept it. Good thing I have a private supplement. What my husband and I pay in MC premiums plus the supplement was what we paid for our insurance before MC eligibility and we had better coverage and payment for our doctor. Good thing the govt showed up to make our life better.

Kissmygrits on December 20, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Lies, damned lies, and fact checking.

WhatNot on December 20, 2011 at 2:58 PM

But Krugman votes to kill Polifact — or at least he mourns its “death” — when he lambastes their choosing this as the lie of the year ’cause “it happens to be true”! Check out “Polifact R.I.P.” (I don’t make links for turds like this, sorry.)

sistrum on December 20, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Well, I think VerBruggen lies also. misses the forest for the trees.

Fixed it fer ya, squish.

peacenprosperity on December 20, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

GOLD!

Seriously, people. He can’t be real. He(or she)’s our own caricature of a liberal. He’s got their talking points down perfectly.

makattak on December 20, 2011 at 3:11 PM

people who don’t follow politics could have gotten the impression that the government would no longer help seniors with their health care at all, and “privatize” and “voucherize” are far more precise words than “end” — but even these claims are well within the bounds of normal political discourse

“Voucherize” is a word? Politifact is empowered to make any noun into a verb? Like a$$ is now a$$ercize. Pinhead is pinercize. Is is isercize. (Rolling her eyes [rollercizing]).

Portia46 on December 20, 2011 at 3:11 PM

I agree with macattak- this liberal4life troll is too stupid to be debating policy on this board. He/she has to be a fake.

But then again, “Don’t touch Medicare’ is a popular mantra at HuffPo that usually goes unchallenged.

Keep the membership closed. The cat drags in some smelly trolls every time the flood gates open.

Bensonofben on December 20, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Said the captain of the titanic after it rammed into an iceberg named reality.

But glad we’ve finally reached the pinnacle of your intelligent comments.

lorien1973 on December 20, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Subhead on this post should read, “Grandma didn’t get run over by a Ryan, dear.”

stuiec on December 20, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Excellent.

lorien1973 on December 20, 2011 at 3:21 PM

What happens when it goes broke?

How many people will it help then?

Chip on December 20, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Liberals don’t care about things like that. They don’t care how much it costs, because most of them are deadbeats and don’t pay taxes in the first place. Which is why they are always harping about raising taxes. It’s not their taxes that will be raised and the end result is, they are the ones that will “benefit” from raised taxes any way.

Even more disturbing…she doesn’t care that “her side” is lying. Lying is perfectly acceptable to a liberal, as long as they get a benefit out of it.

BruthaMan on December 20, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Lib,
As many have pointed out, it’s the Democrats who are trying to destroy Medicare, by recklessly ignoring defecit spending. All of Medicare is being paid for with borrowed money. We’re charging it. Pretty soon, our credit will be cut off. What will our seniors do when there Social Security checks don’t clear and their Medicare bills aren’t paid because the government has insufficient funds? What will happen to our health system which is very dependant on Medicare dollars?

Unless we start entitlement reform now, we’ll wind up with Chinese Social Security (move in with your kids) and Chinese Medicare-everyone brings all their cash to the hospital. Grandpa goes back for the procedure. Doc comes out and says for $1000 we can do this, for $1500 we can do that. Family picks-hands over cash. (This description is based on reports from a colleague that did medical outreach in China). While there may be some merit to restoring the closer relationship between payor and beneficiary, I don’t think the US population is ready for this yet.

talkingpoints on December 20, 2011 at 3:43 PM

“Ryan’s plan may have well called it “premium let down.” If the amount of money you get from the government to replace your previously-defined health benefit grows less and less valuable over time, it shifts the cost onto seniors. And the one thing Medicare is designed to do is keep health care costs from mounting on people who are least able to work. Ryan’s “plan” for saving money through “Medicare reform” was to, quite literally, stop paying for it altogether.”

“Any proposal that ends Medicare, ends Medicare!”

Oops! Wrong again, Hot Air! But you keep trying, brave little soldiers.

Constantine on December 20, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Most people grow out of the “you hate me” argument after the age of five or so, but the left seems to think it actually passes for mature and intelligent discourse. Like children, they vomit this nonsense out of frustration at the realities of life in a desperate attempt to keep believing the world runs on unicorn farts.

Medicare is broke as-is. If no one touches it the whole thing will collapse, and there’s not enough money in the world to keep it and other entitlements going under the present structure. That’s basic math (science) and ignoring it while calling the adults “haters” for dealing with reality is infantile.

RadClown on December 20, 2011 at 4:01 PM

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Fools are indignant.

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2011 at 4:04 PM

What happens when it goes broke?

How many people will it help then?

Chip on December 20, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Liberals don’t care about things like that. They don’t care how much it costs, because most of them are deadbeats and don’t pay taxes in the first place. Which is why they are always harping about raising taxes. It’s not their taxes that will be raised and the end result is, they are the ones that will “benefit” from raised taxes any way.

Even more disturbing…she doesn’t care that “her side” is lying. Lying is perfectly acceptable to a liberal, as long as they get a benefit out of it.

BruthaMan on December 20, 2011 at 3:27 PM

That fact that her side can only advance a Socialist National agenda with outright lies should bother any honest leftists out there.

Chip on December 20, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Constantine on December 20, 2011 at 3:49 PM

What happens when it goes broke?

How many people will it help then?

Or is it the case where the Socialists in the National Democratic Party want to use Medicare to buy votes and don’t care what happens to the elderly when it crashes and burns?

Chip on December 20, 2011 at 4:06 PM

We really need better trolls.

Esthier on December 20, 2011 at 2:19 PM

This. We should all just agree at this point to not really engage them. (It’s not like they’re capable of serious debate anyway.) The best course of action would be to mock them relentlessly. If past trolls are any indication (and some of these probably are past trolls with new screen names), sooner or later they will snap one by one and say something banworthy.

CurtZHP on December 20, 2011 at 4:33 PM

What happens when it goes broke?

How many people will it help then?

Or is it the case where the Socialists in the National Democratic Party want to use Medicare to buy votes and don’t care what happens to the elderly when it crashes and burns?

Except Social Security is just fine for at least the next 30 years. A shortage of funds could easily be overcome if instead of taxing only the first $104K of income, you tax the first $200K; problem solved. Unless you’re hypersensitive to the wealthiest Americans whining “But… but.. myyy moneyyyyy!”

Constantine on December 20, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Unless you’re hypersensitive to the wealthiest Americans whining “But… but.. myyy moneyyyyy!”

Constipated on December 20, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Yeah, I am sensitive to that. You know why? Because I’m not entitled to their money, no matter how much more of it they have than me.

CurtZHP on December 20, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Yeah, I am sensitive to that. You know why? Because I’m not entitled to their money, no matter how much more of it they have than me.
CurtZHP on December 20, 2011 at 4:42 PM

So Social Security is just redistribution of wealth, not making sure you don’t end up destitute no matter what befalls you in life?

Constantine on December 20, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

You know what I like most about this post? The brilliant use of the three excalmation points.

liberal4life, whatever you do, DON”T stop posting here. You’re AWESOME!!!

St Gaudens on December 20, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Constantine on December 20, 2011 at 3:49 PM

HuffPo source and expects to be taken seriously? Please share your drugs next time, and maybe I’ll play along.

So Social Security is just redistribution of wealth, not making sure you don’t end up destitute no matter what befalls you in life?

Constantine on December 20, 2011 at 4:57 PM

No, social security is where the government takes your money from you and promises to give it back with interest by taking from others in order to do so. When normal people do this, it’s illegal, but that’s a different topic. Still, wealth redistribution is the wrong term. More like forced pyramid-schemed 401ks.

As to making sure people don’t end up destitute, do you even know how much poor people get back when they’re old enough to collect? Let’s just say it’s nowhere near enough for someone who cannot work and is at best a supplemental income.

Oh, and at worst, it’s significantly underfunded and will go bankrupt when people need it most if the government continues to kick the can down the road.

Esthier on December 20, 2011 at 5:33 PM

So Social Security is just redistribution of wealth, not making sure you don’t end up destitute no matter what befalls you in life?

Constipated on December 20, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Yep.

CurtZHP on December 20, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Unless you’re hypersensitive to the wealthiest Americans whining “But… but.. myyy moneyyyyy!”

Constantine on December 20, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Yes, we wouldn’t want to be hypersensitive about working people having their hard earned money forceably confiscated by the government and invested in a program that will pay out probably about a third of what you would have were you permitted to invest the money for yourself. All assuming the system doesn’t go belly up before they try to collect anything from it.

eyedoc on December 20, 2011 at 5:37 PM

sooner or later they will snap one by one and say something banworthy.

CurtZHP on December 20, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Exactly. It rarely takes long.

Esthier on December 20, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Except Social Security is just fine for at least the next 30 years.

Constantine on December 20, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Yeah, and that’s why I’ve been getting things in the mail the last 5 years telling me that my “investment” is now worth $.78 on the dollar, even though I’ve got another 35+ years before I can retire. They’re just being extra cautious.

Esthier on December 20, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Republicans just hate old people. Medicare is good as-is please DON”T touch!!!

liberal4life on December 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Don’t touch? It is a cancer that is killing us. Unchanged, it would grow to absorb all production.

Count to 10 on December 20, 2011 at 8:31 PM

This whole adventure with “Politifact” somehow reminds me of the “Funniest Religion Joke Ever” …

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!
Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

This feels like a “Die heretic!” moment.

J_Crater on December 20, 2011 at 11:58 PM

So Social Security is just redistribution of wealth, not making sure you don’t end up destitute no matter what befalls you in life?

Constantine on December 20, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Constantine
In case you were not aware, Social Security is supposed to be a supplemental safety net. It is the responsibility of each individual to secure the means to support themselves in their golden years. This is why we have Retirement Accounts.

It should not be the governments’ job to ensure that each person has a steady income for their entire life. I am paying my own way, and saving for my own future. I don’t expect Social Security to be there for me, so I have to make my own way. Just like every one else that believes in taking responsibility for themselves.

Freed0m28 on December 21, 2011 at 10:04 AM