U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono has a new television advertisement that ties former Gov. Linda Lingle, her Republican opponent for U.S. Senate, to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Medicare.
The Hirono ad claims that Lingle and Romney favor a premium-support option in Medicare that could saddle seniors with an additional $6,400 in out-of-pocket costs. The option would allow seniors to purchase private health plans as an alternative to traditional Medicare.
One problem, though. The $6,400 estimate stemmed from a Congressional Budget Office review of a previous premium-support plan by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the GOP vice presidential candidate. Ryan has since revised his plan, and the CBO has not issued a new estimate of the impact on seniors because of a lack of key details.
Retired Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, Lingle’s campaign manager, accused Hirono of misleading voters.
Hirono’s completely false claim that seniors will pay as much as $6,400 more in Medicare costs under a premium support plan, was debunked more than a year ago by a well-known, non-partisan organization.
Independent Factcheck.org says, “we’ve been debunking these claims about Ryan’s plan since 2011, and Democrats continue to criticize the old plan more so than the current one. The Romney-Ryan plan would leave Medicare unchanged for current beneficiaries, and for those age 55 or older”.
Kinsey Kiriakos, a spokesman for the Hirono campaign, said the Lingle campaign is parsing:
Linda Lingle resorts to parsing Medicare in order to cover up her support for the Romney-Ryan plan, while Mazie Hirono has always worked to protect Medicare for our kupuna. The Romney-Ryan-Lingle plan to convert Medicare into an unaffordable private-insurance voucher program is what our kupuna fear. And, well they should, because it ends Medicare’s guaranteed benefits and leaves our kupuna to the whims and decision-making of private insurance companies.
Hawaii cannot afford the risk, or the cost, of the Romney-Ryan-Lingle plan to end Medicare as we know and depend on it.