McCain Tries To Claim He Really Wasn't For Cutting Medicare And Medicaid

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Chris Wallace asks John McCain about Harry Reid's charge that McCain was for cuts in Medicaid and Medicare before he decided to be against them.

Wallace: one part of the Democratic plan that you've hit hard -- you referred to it -- is the almost half trillion dollars in Medicare cuts that are provided for in the bill. Here's what you said recently on the Senate floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

McCain: These are not attainable cuts without eventually rationing health care in America and rationing health care for our senior citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Wallace: But Senator Democrats point out that during last presidential campaign, last year, you proposed big cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused you of a "big belly flop flip-flop".

McCain: The fact is is what I proposed is changing the tax treatment of employer provided benefits, that we would give Americans a $5000 refundable tax credit to go out and buy insurance wherever they want to. I also had medical malpractice reform. I also had the ability to go across state lines to buy insurance of your choice, outcome based treatment, wellness and fitness...

Wallace: But, but, but...

McCain: ...all of those were reductions. All of those lead to reductions in cost of health care...

Wallace: But to be fair Senator...

McCain: Let me just say, the fundamental of it was not providing, was removing the tax benefit from health care provided, um, health benefits.

Wallace: But to be fair, in the campaign, you wanted to cut government funding for Medicare Advantage and according to a Wall Street Journal article in Oct. 2008 after talking to your top economic advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin that you proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid of $1.3 trillion over ten years.

McCain then points to an article by FactCheck.org which was very favorable to him to counter Reid's statements. Think Progress did a nice job of 'fact checking' that FactCheck.org article.

From their article:

FACTCHECK.ORG GIVES McCAIN A PASS: In an article yesterday, FactCheck.org argued that the CAPAF is "twisting facts to scare seniors" about McCain's proposal to cut $1.3 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid to finance his health care tax credits. But FactCheck.org's argument is flawed, as it relies solely on the denials of McCain senior policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, instead of conducting a thorough analysis of the implications of McCain's proposals. In the same interview in which he revealed that McCain "would pay for his health plan with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid," Holtz-Eakin claimed that McCain's plan would still provide "the benefit package that has been promised." Since this level of cuts would reduce spending growth below inflation and population growth, CAPAF concluded that McCain could make up the budget shortfall by cutting "benefits, eligibility or both." FactCheck.org is taking the McCain campaign's explanations at face value without examining the conflicting assertions the campaign is making, namely that their proposal is budget neutral, does not raise taxes for most or all taxpayers, and does not cut Medicare or Medicaid benefits. It is a rank distortion for FactCheck.org to claim that CAPAF's analysis twists McCain's plan, when all it does is try to analyze the consequences of $1.3 trillion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

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