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The Scoop: Straight Shooting from the Sheriff? Unfortunately Not


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You may have seen the recent Medicare commercial starring actor Andy Griffith. Griffith played the sheriff of the idyllic, fictional American town of Mayberry on the popular "Andy Griffith Show." The commercial is the Administration's latest attempt to try to persuade people that cutting more than half a trillion dollars from Medicare to fund an unsustainable new entitlement program is somehow a good thing for Medicare beneficiaries.

The latest claims are that the new health care law will extend the life of the Medicare program and protect Medicare benefits.

Unfortunately, neither claim is true. The official scorekeeper - the Congressional Budget Office - and the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the very federal agency that put out the Griffith commercial, have released contradictory analysis.

That's right. The Administration's own chief actuary and the Congressional Budget Office have said over and over again that you can't "double-count" the Medicare cuts by claiming they extend the life of the Medicare program and, at the same time, use them to fund a new entitlement program. It's intellectually dishonest to try to have it both ways and it defies common sense.

Joining the government experts who dispute claims that benefits will remain intact is an independent organization, On the taxpayer-funded Griffith ad, notes, "Currently, about 1 in every 4 Medicare beneficiar[ies] is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. For many of them, the words in this ad ring hollow, and the promise that "benefits will remain the same' is just as fictional as the town of Mayberry was when Griffith played the local sheriff."

The commercial isn't the only piece of misleading information coming from the Administration on this topic. The Administration sent a promotional brochure to Medicare beneficiaries that claimed to provide accurate information on how health reform would affect Medicare, but in reality the brochure was full of misleading material.


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