HIRONO’S FALSE CLAIMS MEANT TO SCARE KUPUNA, MISLEAD VOTERS
HONOLULU –"Mazie Hirono is knowingly misleading Hawaii voters by making false claims aimed at scaring Hawaii’s seniors citizens and distorting Governor Lingle’s bipartisan plan to preserve Medicare,” Linda Lingle for Senate Campaign Manager Bob Lee said in response to Hirono’s latest ad.
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."
Hirono latest television ad is also trying to divert the public’s attention from her support of a $716-billion cut to the Medicare program that Medicare’s Chief Actuary Richard Foster says will jeopardize access to care because lower payments would drive some doctors and hospitals out of business .
The $716-billion cut to Medicare that Hirono supports includes cuts in reimbursements to doctors, hospitals, nursing services, hospice facilities and home health services, as well a $300-billion cut to the Medicare Advantage Program, upon which 43% of Hawaii’s seniors depend.
“Hirono provides double talk when asked about the massive cut to Medicare she is supporting. When she says it won’t affect beneficiaries, she’s just not telling the truth,” Lee continued.
“The Chief Medicare Actuary and common sense would tell you that if you put doctors, hospitals, nursing facilities, and hospice organizations under increased financial pressure through the massive cuts Hirono supports, then some of the facilities won’t survive and there will be fewer doctors and health care facilities to care for our kupuna,” Lee explained.
“Our state’s hospitals are already under financial pressure, and people on the neighbor islands likely will be the most affected since they already have a hard time attracting doctors,” Lee added.
Hirono’s support for this largest-ever cut to Medicare will also negatively impact Hawaii’s overall economy because the healthcare industry is among Hawaii’s top employers and economic drivers.
Lingle’s plan to contain the rising cost of Medicare is to give senior citizens a choice to stay with traditional Medicare or pick from various options as they currently do in the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Programs.
Having different plans to choose from will encourage all plans to be more competitive which will serve to stabilize costs and improve service just as having competing choices do in other consumer purchases.
Hirono’s claim that Governor Lingle's idea of allowing seniors to choose their own health insurance plan as a means of preserving Medicare is a "voucher program” is completely false.
She knows that Governor Lingle's proposal does not involve a "voucher program." A voucher program is where a beneficiary receives a payment (the "voucher") from government and then fends for him or herself.
Under Governor Lingle's proposal, Medicare Choice, a beneficiary can select either traditional Medicare or a private insurance plan approved by the Medicare program from a health exchange and the federal government will make the payment directly to the selected insurance provider.
“All members of Congress, including Mazie Hirono, have this kind of plan, and it is considered a ‘gold standard’ of healthcare plans. Why doesn’t Mazie want our kupuna to have a plan as good as hers?” Lee asked .
Governor Lingle supports a common sense, bipartisan plan to make changes to Medicare that protect current beneficiaries while making sure the program remains solvent and is there for future generations.
Governor Lingle's plan is based on ideas supported by then-President Bill Clinton's Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare.
It is currently supported by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), where Governor Lingle has served as a founding member of the Governors’ Council.
Former U.S. Senator Pete Dominici of New Mexico, and former Clinton Budget Director Alice Rivlin led the BPC effort to draft an updated version of the earlier Clinton-era plan.
"Mazie Hirono is implementing the standard ‘cookie cutter’, national party playbook against Governor Lingle. Her ads and her statements mirror national ads run by the third party special interest groups,” Lee explained.
“The people of Hawaii have trusted Governor Lingle for 30 years since she was a councilwoman on Molokai, then Mayor of Maui and the two-term Governor of Hawaii. They know she always puts the people of Hawaii first as she is doing with her common sense plan for Medicare Choice,” Lee concluded.
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