Dems push back on GOP 'scare tactics'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) led a coordinated effort by Democratic leaders on Thursday to push back Republican “scare tactics” on health reform, saying the GOP has no credibility because it has continually tried to gut public health programs.

The top five Senate Democrats — Reid, Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGun proposal picks up GOP support Durbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration MORE of Illinois, Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico MORE of New York, Conference Secretary Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayChildren’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Schumer calls for attaching ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance MORE of Washington and Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan of North Dakota — said Republicans voted 59 times in the past decade against Medicare and are now “disingenuous” for claiming to protect it.

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Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and other top Republicans have recently cut ads and spoken out against Democratic healthcare efforts by highlighting cuts they say would be necessary to programs like Medicare Advantage.

But Reid said, “Our opponents’ claims this time around are disingenuous at best and phony at worst. Disingenuous, because they have a long track record of standing in the way of giving America’s seniors what they need. Phony, because they completely and willfully misrepresent what the bills we are considering will actually do for our seniors … When it comes to Republicans attacks on Medicare, the messenger has no credibility and the message is nothing more than an excuse.”

The Democratic attack did nothing to slow Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.), who repeated the central assertion that is quickly taking center stage in the health reform debate.

“Seniors take a serious hit from this legislation — either through cuts in services that millions of them currently enjoy, or by being forced off the plans they have,” McConnell said. “All told, this bill calls for nearly $140 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage; nearly $120 billion in Medicare cuts for hospitals that care for seniors; more than $40 billion in cuts to home health agencies; and nearly $8 billion in cuts to Hospice care.”