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April 30, 2014 04:55 PM

Rounds Medicare Ad Fact Check

Sioux Falls, SD

A new TV commercial is putting Medicare and Obamacare front and center in South Dakota's U.S. Senate race. 

The ad features Republican Mike Rounds and his father, as Rounds criticizes President Obama for funding the Affordable Care Act at Medicare's expense. But critics say the ad doesn't tell the whole story. 

The Rounds ad is bringing up a campaign issue that got a lot of play during the 2012 presidential election. Back then, Republicans said Obamacare was siphoning hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare, the federal health care program for people 65 years and older. But political watchdogs say that claim wasn't accurate then, and still isn't today.

"When I first heard about Obamacare, I couldn't sleep," Mike Rounds said in a campaign commercial.

What Republican Mike Rounds says caused him those sleepless nights was Obamacare's impact on Medicare.

"President Obama is taking over $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare," Rounds said in the campaign commercial.

But Florida-based PolitiFact.com says, the claim that Medicare is losing $700 billion is inaccurate.

"We just really don't find this one all that true," PolitiFact.com reporter Joshua Gillin said.

PolitiFact says the claim isn't accurate because the $700 billion doesn't come from the traditional Medicare program itself.  Instead, it's a reduction in payments to insurance companies through the privately-managed Medicare plan called Medicare Advantage.

"The idea behind that is that the Affordable Care Act is trying to reduce the amount of payments that are going to Medicare Advantage plans because they are reimbursed at a higher rate by the government than actual Medicare is," Gillin said.

Gillin says far from losing hundreds of billions of dollars, Medicare spending will actually increase as more Baby Boomers become eligible in the years to come. 

Earlier this month, the White House announced it would delay cuts to Medicare Advantage. The program will instead, see a slight increase in funding next year.

Rounds is standing by the information in his commercial. He says the Medicare trust fund will be broke by the year 2026, as a result of the president redirecting funds to Obamacare.

  • Politics
  • South Dakota
  • US Senate
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