Skip to comments.For Dems, a problem with seniors
Posted on 04/06/2014 3:44:29 PM PDT by Libloather
Democrats are facing a senior problem that could get even worse this year.
The party has traditionally had trouble with older voters, losing the group aged 65 and over by 21 points in 2010 when Republicans picked up 63 seats and by 12 points in the 2012 presidential race.
Seniors are the GOPs most reliable voting bloc in midterm years, turning out in higher numbers than Democratic base voters. A recent Gallup poll showed seniors have become even more Republican over the last two decades; in 2013, 48 percent considered themselves Republican.
That spells trouble for Democrats, who are already facing a difficult midterm climate. Doug Thornell, a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman, said it is imperative to close the gap his party faced in the last midterm cycle.
Democrats have to perform better with seniors than they did in 2010. They got shellacked with seniors in 2010. I dont think the goal here is to win, but I definitely think the goal is to narrow the gap, he said.
After a rough few months with the rocky rollout of ObamaCare, Democrats are more optimistic because of better-than-expected health care enrollment numbers. But Republicans are pledging to continue to hammer Democrats on the law.
Of particular concern to seniors are the proposed 2015 cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program, which may be finalized Monday.
The cuts could hurt most in retiree-heavy states where Democrats face some of their toughest House races, such as Florida and Arizona, as well as New York, Colorado, Minnesota and California all states with higher than average enrollment in Medicare Advantage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Democrats lost a critical Florida special election last month in which seniors were key in the GOPs victory.
To try to mitigate potential fallout, a number of vulnerable Democrats have joined Republicans in calling on the administration to keep Medicare Advantage rates flat, thus avoiding cutting benefits for seniors. Rep. John Barrow (Ga.), Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) are among those making this argument. All three are among Republicans top targets in November.
Republicans have already pounced on the issue. One major GOP group, American Action Network, launched a $1 million campaign hitting nine vulnerable senators and House members with television, digital and mail advertising on the Medicare Advantage cuts.
Andrea Bozek, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said more potent attacks will come after the administration announces its final decision on cuts on Monday.
Whatever that number is, you will see [it] in TV ads across the country, especially during a midterm cycle, she said.
Democrats counter that Rep. Paul Ryans (R-Wis.) budget gives them a chance to fight back on Medicare, however. They point to the fact that it contains Ryans longstanding proposal to partially privatize Medicare through an optional premium support system, which Democrats have charged ends Medicare as we know it.
They are, once again, on Thursday going to vote to end the Medicare guarantee and raise premiums, said one national Democratic strategist. Thats regularly a top-testing argument in polling ending the Medicare guarantee, ending Medicare as you know it.
But that argument may be tougher to make this time around due to a change to the Ryan budget. The new plan removes the cap on Medicare spending per beneficiary that was included in previous proposals to ensure long-term savings for the program.
With the cap, Democrats were able to claim that if Medicare costs skyrocketed, seniors would be left footing a higher bill because the government would only subsidize so much of those costs. The new budget may give Republicans an escape from that attack.
Thornell counseled Democrats to make sure voters know about moves like that one from Republicans, including the fact that Ryans budget actually includes savings from the Medicare Advantage cuts in Obama-Care that Republicans so oppose.
Democrats have to take the fight to Republicans on the issue. They cant assume that voters are just going to see through it, and they cant assume that they are as informed on the ins and outs of Medicare Advantage and some of the other scare tactics from Republicans, he said.
He points out that Medicare Advantage enrollment rates have actually risen since the passage of the Affordable Care act, surging nearly 10 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to a Kaiser Foundation analysis.
Aside from fighting back on Medicare Advantage, Democrats are hoping to make a broader appeal to seniors by pointing to the benefits they enjoy under ObamaCare, and how Republicans, if they succeeded in repealing the law, would do away with them.
Democrats are committed to making sure that our health care system works, and we will work to improve the Affordable Care Act not repealing it and taking us back to the days when insurance companies had free rein to raise rates and deny coverage, said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Josh Schwerin. Republicans repeal would end the Medicare guarantee and raise costs on seniors prescription drugs by $1,200 a person immediately.
Democrats are, in other words, abiding by Thornells most urgent piece of advice: Dont let yourself get kicked in the face. Youve gotta go on offense.
Just do it.
Obama made a conscious choice: heavily subsidized health insurance that overwhelmingly benefits African-Americans vs. continuing the subsidies for Medicare Advantage that were existing law prior to 2010.
Obama chose "his people" over old white people.
For him, it was a very easy decision.
Government - It's so perfect and infallible you can't even sue it.
Also, it’s time for us to take off the rose colored glasses when it comes to pubbie 10-year plans for the budget. Ryan’s proposal is as much hogwash as the dhimmicraps having no budget.
No Congress can bind the actions of a future Congress. All the pie-in-the-sky, feel-good platitudes to the contrary notwithstanding, there is nothing in the legislative history of this nation over the last 120 years that should lead anyone to believe differently.
Congress must focus on the things they can actually do! Balance the budget. It’s going to hurt, but do it anyway.
Get fedgov back within the confines of the Constitution. It’s going to hurt, but do it anyway.
Democrats are, in other words, abiding by Thornells most urgent piece of advice: Dont let yourself get kicked in the face. Youve gotta Kick some face!”
(think of a hobnailed boot stomping on a human face,
2012 proved to me:
It doesn’t matter who votes, it only matters who counts the votes.
My older relatives do not think of the ACA death panels but the fact that the ACA closed the donut hole. They both have expensive meds. Seems the act has a little bit of goodies for every group to justify not rocking the boat.
It’s not just old white people. He’s attacking TriCare too.
> The party has traditionally had trouble with older voters, losing the group aged 65 and over by 21 points in 2010 when Republicans picked up 63 seats — and by 12 points in the 2012 presidential race.
During the interval from 2010 to 2012, many of them died of old age or death panels. Thanks Libloather.
“Democrats are facing a senior problem that could get even worse this year”
Yeh, now that they are trying to kill them with O’Care.
This may be a dumb question, but why would you P.O. seniors many of whom are vets, with certain skill sets, and don’t figure they have long to go anyway? Just how smart is that?
Good point. Here's a warning for the GOP:
IF ONE MEMBER of the GOP votes for this mess the PRESS will forever run that person's name and the 'R' next to it to scare old people. The press and democrats work hand in hand... If it's EVERY democrat and ONE Republican the MSM will present it as an equivalent.
Don't vote for this... please...
What??? If Franklin D. Roosevelt saw this story, he'd be rolling over in his grave! It was he who once confided that (the then brand new) "Social Security" program will have the elderly voting Democratic forever.
The medicare Advantage stuff was one of many reasons Jolly won in Florida... There was one bigger reason but dems haven’t figured it out yet.
They have a problem with the race and ethnicity of seniors.
Americans over age 65 are overwhelmingly white.
And they vote very much like younger white people vote - 55% to 60% for Republicans.
The only reason so many seniors voted Republican in 2010 was because large numbers of non-white seniors stayed home.
If the Democrats can figure out how to get their non-white voting base to the polls in 2014, Republicans will not win the Senate, and they will lose a couple seats in the House.
:’) A big part of my family (all gone now) were in the “No 3rd Term” and “No 4th Term” demographic (and 1st gen Americans).
If Madeline Dunham the old Granny was still alive she would slap naughty little Barry silly,,
No one wants to renege on providing support for our aged. Its the hallmark of a decent society. They are our most vulnerable.
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