Who said that? Dems and GOP display dizzying shift on Medicare rhetoric

Just a little over a year ago, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) took to the House floor to warn America of the perils facing seniors if Democrats’ healthcare reform bill wasn't stopped.

“Can you go home and tell your senior citizens that these cuts in Medicare will not limit their access to doctors or further weaken the program instead of strengthening it? No, you cannot,” the then-minority leader said last March.

Fast-forward 13 months, and Boehner — now the Speaker of the House — is singing a different tune.

Tasked with defending Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) proposal to replace Medicare with subsidies to buy private insurance, Boehner told ABC News that the blueprint “transforms Medicare into a plan that's very similar to the president's own healthcare bill.”

If Boehner can be accused of shifting his rhetoric, so too can some Democrats.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius echoed GOP complaints about the Obama healthcare law when she said Americans would “die sooner” under the Ryan plan.

Of course, political opportunism is nothing new in Washington. Nor is the occasional policy flip-flop.

But the brazenness with which lawmakers are changing their rhetoric to woo seniors has amazed even longtime Washington hands, who can't recall such a rapid — and complete — role-reversal.

On the following pages, The Hill has collected a series of examples of what each side said about the Democrats' healthcare reform plan and the Republicans' Medicare reform plan. 

Click through to see the evolution of the talking points in the healthcare debate.


The effects of reform | On rationing | Electoral consequences
Life or death (part 1) | Life or death (part 2) | "Granny"
Scare tactics | Asking for civility | "Grown up" solutions