GOP Uses Sanders’s Medicare Plan In Attacks On Democrats

Republicans in tight midterm races are tying their Democratic opponents to a “Medicare for all” proposal from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), arguing the plan would bankrupt the government and damage traditional Medicare.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is running in a close Senate race, recently tweeted: “If you want to protect Medicare, vote Republican. If you want a socialist experiment with Medicare, by all means vote Democrat.”

In Maine, Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) has a TV ad hitting his Democratic challenger, Jared Golden, for supporting Medicare for all. “A radical liberal politician, his risky scheme will end Medicare as we know it,” the ad says, pointing to “massive costs.”

The attacks are an effort by Republican candidates to flip the script on their Democratic opponents. Democrats are not proposing to cut Medicare in the way Republicans have, instead calling to expand the program, but the GOP argues that the massive costs associated with Medicare for all would be disruptive and make the whole program less stable.

“What the Republicans are trying to do is chip away at the Democrats’ advantage on health care,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell, noting that efforts to portray Medicare as under threat can “boost turnout among older voters who tend to favor Republicans.”

For years, Democrats have gotten mileage out of GOP proposals to cut Medicare spending, particularly those from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has pushed for reining in entitlement programs during most of his career in Washington.

GOP strategists like O’Connell are hopeful that the recent Republican attacks on Medicare could help make some headway on an issue where Democrats have consistently put the GOP on the defensive.

“They’ve hit us with a wiffle ball bat for almost 10 years on this issue,” he said.

Read more from Peter Sullivan at The Hill

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