Gardner fact check: He and Udall voted for same Medicare ‘cuts’

False assertion: ‘Udall’s the only one in this election who has voted to cut millions of seniors off of Medicare Advantage’

Gardner fact check: He and Udall voted for same Medicare ‘cuts’

 
On his way to building what has turned out to be landslide state Republican support for his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall this year, Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner has been tearing through small party delegate gatherings across the Front Range for weeks, delivering electrifying short speeches. In at least one of those, he repeated a line that has become a staple of Republican stump speeches around the country — but he went beyond stretching the truth and twisted it into an ironic tangle.

At the Arapahoe County Republican Assembly held March 29 at Centennial’s Arapahoe High School, Gardner delivered a short stump speech and then visited various meetings of state legislative district delegates. According to audio obtained by the Colorado Independent from an attendee at a House District 3 session, Gardner said that “Mark Udall cut Medicare and cut Medicare Advantage… He’s the only one in this election who has voted to cut millions of seniors off of Medicare Advantage.”

Medicare Advantage is a George W. Bush program that has private companies bill the government to service Medicare patients.

Gardner was responding to a question about a television ad being run in Colorado by the pro-Democrat Senate Majority PAC, which claimed Gardner supported a plan to “end Medicare’s guarantee” that would force seniors to pay more for care. (Click on the image to listen to the exchange.)

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   Delegate: There have been quite a few charges against you on TV and I want to hear you address those.
    Gardner: Let me put it this way, the Democrats don’t like Republicans and they don’t like the fact that we are trying to get people out of the thumbprint of Obamacare. But those ads are geared toward hiding the fact that Mark Udall cut Medicare and cut Medicare Advantage. He increased taxes. They are going to do everything they can to make this election not about Obamacare, but you know what, that bill hurts every single one of us.
    Delegate: He voted to exempt himself!
    Gardner: He did, he voted to exempt himself, too. That’s what those attacks are. He’s the only one in this election who has voted to cut millions of seniors off of Medicare Advantage. 

The Gardner campaign didn’t return messages seeking comment about his position on Medicare yesterday.

But the Fourth-District Congressman has been running on an anti-Obamacare platform since he announced his Senate bid in February. Indeed, he has campaigned against the law since 2010, when he won his first election to Congress. He’s not alone in running against Obamacare, of course, nor in accusing his Democratic opponent of slashing Medicare.

The assertion that the Affordable Care Act will cut Medicare funding has been made by Republicans for years. Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan made the same claim in 2012. As Tampa Bay Times Pulitzer-prize-winning project PolitiFact pointed out in February, “It appears the GOP playbook for the 2014 midterms will be similar.”

The site dings a National Republican Congressional Committee ad that made the claim as part of an attack on Democrat Alex Sink, who was running in Florida’s U.S. House special election.

PolitiFact explained that “neither Obama nor his health care law literally ‘cut’ a dollar from the Medicare program’s budget.”

The site explains that “Obamacare” seeks to lower costs overall for Medicare patients by demanding increased efficiency on the part of health care providers. No benefits to patients would be cut.

Obamacare does not literally cut funding from the Medicare budget, but tries to bring down future health care costs in the program. Much of this is accomplished by reducing Medicare Advantage, a small subset of Medicare plans that are run by private insurers.
    President George W. Bush started Medicare Advantage in hopes the increased competition would reduce costs. But those plans are actually costlier than traditional Medicare. So the health care law reduces payments to private insurers. Hospitals, too, will be paid less if they have too many re-admissions, or if they fail to meet other new benchmarks for patient care.
The goal is get health care providers to increase their efficiency and quality of care instead of cutting benefits for seniors.
    The overall trend in Medicare spending is still expected to increase, even after the adjustments in the Affordable Care Act.

In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the “Obamacare” program would save taxpayers $716 billion. Those same projected Medicare savings are included in Rep. Paul Ryan’s Republican budget, first floated in 2008 as the “Roadmap for America’s Future Act.” In 2012, Ryan renamed it “The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal.” Gardner has voted to support Ryan’s plan repeatedly. Gardner cast his most recent vote for the Ryan budget last week, on April 10.

It is a matter of public record that Udall did not vote to “cut Medicare” and that he isn’t “the only one in this election to vote to cut Medicare Advantage.” Gardner voted for the same cost-savings every time he voted for the Ryan budget.

At the Democratic National Convention in 2012, former President Bill Clinton pointed out that Ryan himself was campaigning on the claim that Obamacare cut Medicare by $716 billion.

“When I saw that, I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry,” said Clinton. “Because, that $716 billion is exactly to the dollar the same amount of medicare savings that he had in his own budget. You gotta give him one thing: it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.”

As Gardner’s campaign heats up, he is drawing increasing attention from fact checkers. One of his go-to lines in the weeks since he declared his intention to run for Senate has been that Udall “cast the deciding vote for Obamacare.”

PolitiFact recently rated that claim “mostly false.”

“Because Udall had consistently sided with the Democratic leadership in votes related to the act, he was not among the handful of undecided senators who [Majority Leader Harry] Reid had to wrangle as the vote was approaching,” PolitiFact reported.

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About the Author

John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic
jtomasic@coloradoindependent.com | 720-432-2128 |

4 Comments

  1. Will Morrison on said:

    What??!? Cory Gardner is LYING? Who would have thought it? Oh, just about anyone who pays attention to him and what he says and does. I can’t type what I really think about him, I’d get banned from this site for life.

    Cory Gardner is a little lying mental pipsqueak. He is in this NOT for ANYONE in this state, he’s in it for the MONEY and power, not for YOU or me. He’s in it for what HE can get for HIMSELF. He’s already sold the state out and down the toilet as a member of the house, sending him to the senate would be a MISTAKE. DON’T MAKE IT.

    RETIRE CORY GARDNER NOW! We can do FAR, FAR better. Udall ain’t great, Gardner would be a COMPLETE disaster. DON’T Make things WORSE by putting this little (Fill in your favorite word here) into the senate. FIRE HIM!!!!

  2. Robert on said:

    Con Man Cory is getting a lot of attention in the national media…he is basically unknown and unmeasured as he did nothing of substance while in congress….Gardner is the worse type of politician, as he lies all the time…oh wait…feature not a bug…

  3. emialy on said:

    Udall
    pay for play involves $15000 in just last quarter from electric utility
    companies so that he would then sponsor S.2165 which mandates smart
    meters.

    Josh,

    Udall’s
    bill S.2165 The E-ACCESS bill which federally mandates smart meters, in the age of the
    Internet of things do we really need utilities to know how much power my
    toaster uses at what time?

    so privacy aside I was wondering and asked,
    have Udall’s offices been getting swamped by constituents clamoring for
    more information about their electricity bills?? I don’t know about you
    but my bill gives me plenty of breakdown. I think there are WAY more
    important issues to consider.

    I pay power companies to buy a
    product. Period. They have no right to know anything about how i use
    that product in my private life.

    Do gasoline companies reserve the right
    to know what we do with gas in our cars after we pay them for it??

    but
    i checked out Udall’s FEC campaign donations for just the last quarter,
    in which he got maxed out in donations from the electric utility
    industry.

    including 5000 from Florida water and power

    so
    i read the bill in which the word “voluntary” is used at least 15
    times, EXCEPT the section where is says that all consumer energy data
    will be gathered by smart meters, and it just assumes (vague and weaselly) that they will be installed,

    THEN the consumer can “voluntarily”,

    AFTER a FEDERAL MANDATE MAKES IT A LAW TO INSTALL A SMART METER IN YOUR HOME, THEN, only then,

    you as the consumer have the option

    of negotiating with the utility as to whether you want to use
    meter, it will still be deployed and installed on your
    property/residence, as mandated by federal law, even though the usage of
    it is “voluntary”, a voluntary mandate that puts you in the position of
    negotiating with billion dollar corporations.

    if you refuse the meter, the utility will
    differentiate you into a higher price category/tier, just like the
    telecom companies (in fact as you know, the power companies’ long term
    strategy is to emulate the price/service model of the telecom industry).

    and
    if you do accept it they will still differentiate you and place you in a
    price tier based on how much you use in peak hours how many
    refrigerators you have etc.

    ITS ALL FOR CORPORATE PROFITS

    do
    not let this happen I asked Udall’s offices: is this really what your
    constituents in Colorado are clamoring for? increased access to their
    energy usage data??? this is hardly the most important issue facing
    families in Colorado.

    instead of sponsoring bills that would
    ACTUALLY lower energy costs and create jobs like KEYSTONE XL, mark Udall
    is focused on producing federal mandates and legislation, that further
    compromises our privacy, puts another “voluntary” mandate on citizens health and property,
    all the while engorging his campaign donors with massive corporate
    profits at the expense of consumers and taxpayers (the cost of the
    meters would eventually be subsidized).

    Just another betrayal of Coloradans by Senator Mark Udall and his crony utility company backers.

    this is totally a privacy and property violation on a scale that is beyond civil words.

    I urge everyone reading this, to checkout Udall’s Bill S.2165 aka the
    E-Access
    Act read the language of the bill, then call your state senators and
    urge them not to support or co-sponsor this totally transparent attempt
    at federal/corporate control.

    And don’t buy their boilerplate attempts at convincing you
    otherwise.

  4. Bob Berwyn on said:

    What I don’t understand is why the media is building Gardner up so much. Used to be a time when you had to actually do or say something of substance to be taken seriously as a candidate, not just announce yourself and raise money. Right from day 1, Colorado media has been putting Gardner on the same level as Udall, which is absurd. On the one hand, we’re talking about an experienced senate leader with with serious chops in issues important to Coloradans – public lands, civil rights, privacy … on the other hand, just a big mouth.

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