By Sam Baker - 12/20/11 03:37 PM EST
The claim that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget would end Medicare is the “lie of the year,” according to the fact-checking website Politifact.
According to Politifact’s analysis, saying the Ryan plan “ends Medicare” overlooks the fact that its changes would not affect people 55 and older. Politifact also said Medicare would remain in existence, but in a different form — which Ryan’s critics say is the same thing as ending Medicare.
“It seems foolish to have to parse the meaning of the word ‘end,’ but if there’s a program, and it’s replaced with a different program, proponents brought an end to the original program,” liberal blogger Steve Benen wrote at Washington Monthly. “That’s what the verb means.”
Under Ryan’s plan, the existing Medicare program would be replaced with a system in which the federal government provides seniors with subsidies to buy private insurance.
“The very definition of the Medicare program is a national health insurance program for seniors, which House Republicans would abolish under their budget,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in an earlier rebuttal of Politifact’s analysis of the Ryan plan.
Ryan backed a new proposal last week that would give seniors a choice between private insurance and the existing Medicare program.
Democrats and their allies tweaked their attack several months ago to say the Ryan plan would “end Medicare as we know it.”
This is the third year in a row that a healthcare attack has been named Politifact’s “lie of the year.” Last year, the site singled out Republicans’ charge that President Obama’s healthcare law is a “government takeover” of healthcare. In 2009, the “death panels” attack was named lie of the year.
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