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New campaign targets Democrats for health vote

By Ben Pershing
A conservative seniors' group is launching a seven-figure ad campaign against House Democrats who voted for the party's health-care reform bill Saturday, accusing them of cutting Medicare and saddling future generations with hefty deficits.

The 60 Plus Association -- an advocacy group that calls itself the "conservative alternative" to AARP -- plans to spend $1.5 million on television ads targeting eight Democratic lawmakers and on phone calls against seven more, all in districts with relatively large populations of seniors. The first spot, against Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), begins airing Thursday morning, while the remainder -- targeting Reps. Vic Snyder (Ark.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Dina Titus (Nev.), Tom Perriello (Va.) and Gerald Connolly (Va.) -- will launch Thursday night or Friday.

"The House passed a 2,000-page health care bill that cuts Medicare $400 billion, raises taxes on small business killing jobs and makes insurance you have cost more," the announcer says in the TV spot. Seniors then appear to say the lawmaker "betrayed us" and that his or her state "won't forget" the vote. The automated phone calls will feature a similar message, delivered by singer Pat Boone, 60 Plus' national spokesman.

Though the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee have vowed to go after Democrats who voted for the health-care measure, the 60 Plus effort marks the first major paid advertising campaign from the right since the House vote. Multiple liberal groups have already gone on the air to thank Democrats who voted yes and criticize those who voted no. Conversely, 60 Plus is also launching an ad thanking one Democrat, Rep. Charles Melancon (La.), for voting against the House bill.

The 60 Plus Association is active on an array of policy fronts, advancing conservative positions against the estate tax and climate change legislation as well as health care. The group regularly squares off against AARP, which gave the House's health-care bill a critical boost by endorsing it last week.

The issue of Medicare cuts in the House bill has been the subject of controversy. A big chunk of the cuts come through reducing reimbursements to insurers that run the private Medicare Advantage program. Liberals have criticized Medicare Advantage as an inefficient boon to private insurers at the expense of the government and other Medicare enrollees. But conservatives contend that seniors in Medicare Advantage are happy with their plans. And some critics -- including 60 Plus -- accuse AARP of having a conflict on the issue because the group makes money from endorsing Medigap policies, which would become more popular if Medicare Advantage is cut.

As for the ad's contention that the House bill will increase the deficit, the Congressional Budget Office actually concluded that the measure would reduce the federal deficit by $104 billion. But that does not include the cost, estimated at $240 billion over 10 years, of a separate proposal to adjust the Medicare payment formula for doctors. And conservatives believe the measure will end up becoming another expensive entitlement program as the years go on.

By Ben Pershing  |  November 11, 2009; 2:04 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Campaign , Health Reform  
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So the 'conservative alternative' is spending a large sum of money to claim that the Democrats cut Medicare but then, according to the end of the article, they oppose an expenditure because it ends up being an entitlement mean like Medicare? These so-called groups are nothing but shams for well-heeled movers and shakers, individual and corporate, who are using every device available to prevent health care reform through behind the scenes machinations. Health care reform even in the watered-down somewhat mangled forms now under consideration will help average people and may even challenge the exorbitant costs charged by large health related industries and corporations.

Posted by: albanyCA | November 11, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Compelling ad. I wouldn't want to be one of those blue dogs. Especially Connelly, who's district went for McDonnell last week. This is really going to be, not just obama's, but the democrats Waterloo. Go ahead and pass it. Make my day.

Posted by: rush_b_right | November 11, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

A bunch of rich old republicans, who cares what they think.

Posted by: obrier2 | November 11, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The old Watergate advice applies: "Follow the money " Where is the $1,5 million coming from for these ad buys ? And will anyone call them on the factual errors and clearly FALSE information they include? See Ruth Marcus' column today.
The President's question to the House Democratic caucus last Saturday was exactly right. Do any of the Democrats who voted AGAINST the House bill think that Republicans weren't going to attack them anyway ?

Posted by: jmsbh | November 11, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting that Ben Pershing is characterizing The 60 Plus organization as "right wing" because they are fighting for the rights of senior citizens that appear to be under attack by the Democratic Leadership. If this same organization ran the same adds against Republicans who were trying to cut benefits from senior citizens, would Pershing call them "Liberal Extremists"?

Posted by: mike85 | November 11, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

TO: jmsbh who wrote:
“The old Watergate advice applies: "Follow the money " Where is the $1,5 million coming from for these ad buys ? And will anyone call them on the factual errors and clearly FALSE information they include? See Ruth Marcus' column today…”

I know; from the insurance company lobby, and I believe the Republicans are taking millions from the insurance companies to lie to their constituents, and even more money for their “no” votes.

The sad thing is, Republican politicians KNOW that if health care reform passes, with the Public Option, it will be a good thing for all Americans, but I don’t suspect Republicans are concerned with “all Americans.” They are ONLY concerned about their own families.

Posted by: lindalovejones | November 11, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Good for 60 Plus. Where can I contribute to their cause?

And the liberal freakonomics that says this horrible legislation saves money is total BS. Reduce the deficit by $100 billion but add $240 billion more that they purposely didn't tack on to this bill is Democratic deception at it's finest.

Anybody who supports this garbage is either a paid shill or a clueless sheep.

Posted by: RobParker | November 11, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

TO: rush_b_right who wrote:
"Compelling ad. I wouldn't want to be one of those blue dogs. Especially Connelly, who's district went for McDonnell last week. This is really going to be, not just obama's, but the democrats Waterloo. Go ahead and pass it. Make my day."

We certainly can't wait.

Any Republican who doesn't vote in favor of health care reform will only have the psychos' vote to rely on.

Posted by:

Posted by: lindalovejones | November 11, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

There are few groups I abhore more than "Conservative Seniors...."

They just stood by while Ronald Reagan and just about every President (and Congress) since just drove our nation deeper and deeper into debt.

They got theirs and have passed the Multi-TRILLION bills onto their grandkids, great garndkids, and many future generations.

They will be dead and gone when the bills come due.....and they could care less.

They aren't the "greatest generation" -- just the "gutless generation."

I hope your estates get stuffed with a 80% tax to pay the bills you didn't have the balls to ensure got paid when you were alive.

Posted by: Losercuda | November 11, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

They don't need to target them with ads, we all know who they are and we won't forget.

Posted by: kalamere | November 11, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"Stop the government takeover of healthcare [but don't touch my Medicare]!" If this wasn't for real, it wouldn't make a bad comedy sketch.

Posted by: UnPatriotic | November 11, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Aren't most of these fools half dead already? Let the new generation take the reins. Time to go to the pasture gramps!

Posted by: cholly85241 | November 11, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

To Losercuda,

I am a conservative who has always spoken out against the debts that the Republican presidents and congress were inflicting on the American people. I would have voted for the Democrats if they had a strong plank of fiscal restraint, but they never did.

As far as Medicare goes. People of my generation have been paying taxes into Medicare for the past 30 years. We have not had any choice about that. Yes, we want to get something back on that investment. Is that wrong? If we did not have to pay that money into Medicare, we could have invested it for our own old age.
( I actually did that with money I had in the Illinois Teacher Retirement fund.) After I stopped teaching in Illinois, I had the option to take the funds out and invest them privately and I have much more money now than if I had left them in that fund.)

Posted by: GPFR | November 11, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Where is the money coming from for this campaign? The Post needs to find out.

Posted by: nwadvocate | November 11, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Mr & Ms Republican Eliphant Butz during the Bush/Neocon era:

"National Debt? What national debt? Ooohhh! THAT national debt!"

From 2001 to 2008 the National Debt went


5.7 $Trillion


11 $Trillion

the Communist Chinese loansharks

got us

by the bawls and boubbies
Thanks to Bush & Company
Mr & Ms Republican Eliphant Butz during the Bush/Neocon era:

"Value of the dollar? Value of what dollar? Ooohhh! The value of THAT dollar!"

From 2001 to 2008 the U.S. Dollar appoximately Devalued against the EURO


$ .85 = 1 EURO


$1.48 = 1 EURO

The "socialists" are kicking our butz
Thanks to Bush & Company

Posted by: owldog | November 12, 2009 2:11 AM | Report abuse

Lots of lies and hyperbole, but at least they stopped talking about pulling the plug on granny.

Posted by: owldog | November 12, 2009 2:14 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats claim that they can eliminate 500 billion dollars in waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and that will help pay for the Health Care bill.

I call on Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to introduce legislation impementing these savings immediately. I then call on Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to bring this legislation up for a vote immediately.

If they did this I wonder how many Democratic members of Congress would have the courage to vote for same?

Very few!

Therefore I consider this as a funding source for the Health Care bill to be a fraud being perpatrated on the American people.

Posted by: mwhoke | November 12, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

60 MINUTES did piece last week on the rising problem of medicare fraud - dummy companies billing Medicare. Estimates are that $ 60 Billion a year is lost this way.

While an embarrassment to the program, it does show how much slack and mismanagement there is in just one part of the system, the system which, if addressed, could save trillions in the long run.

Computerized records, (if standardized and made to work right) along with more statistical studies on efficacy of drugs and procedures, could not only save hundreds of billions more, it will also save lives (read "Money Driven Medicine" by Maggie Mahar.)

Republicans, Neoconservatives, and other obstructionists should not be bad-mouthing these very plausible savings, but should be helping to facilitate their feasibility and workability.

Posted by: owldog | November 12, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

These guys should be worrying about the millions of families who will receive decent health care. We are 37 in the world and have 1/3 of our population without health care. Our cost in the mistaken wars is well over 200 billion a year. A lot of that money is going to corrupt politicians and other thugs in those countries and we are creating a future debt of billions in ongoing health care for the soldiers we send.
How about advocating stopping these crazy wars and using the money for our own health care? These guys live in a fantasy world.

Posted by: ephetsgma | November 12, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

It's outrageous that the Washington Post doesn't remind it's readers about what they themselves reported in 2002 about 60+. It is nothing more than another GOP astroturf group that unfortunately has duped America's seniors.

"In 2002, 60 Plus received 91% of its total revenue - $11 million dollars - from one undisclosed donor, which the Washington Post reported lined up perfectly with "an unrestricted educational grant" to 60 Plus from PhRMa, the drugmaker lobby group. Jim Martin, the 60 Plus President, has acknowledged in interviews that it received money from pharmaceuticals, saying "I wish it was more."

Follow the money is right...America's seniors are being sold a bill of goods by a so-called "seniors group" which is actually fronting for Pharma and countless other big money GOP interests.

Posted by: wrightk1 | November 12, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

wrightk1: "America's seniors are being sold a bill of goods by a so-called 'seniors group' which is actually fronting for Pharma and countless other big money GOP interests."

Is that the same Pharma group that contributed one million dollars to Sentator Obama in 2008? Is Obama in the hands of the GOP? I think not.

Posted by: NorthMan | November 12, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

The whole question of taxpayer funding for abortions has long ignored the fact that MANY taxpayers WANT their taxes to be used to fund abortions for poor women that need them.

The simple solution is to have a voluntary added tax that is earmarked for abortion funding. We have this voluntary tax program in New Mexico--when the individual fills out their form there is about a half-page of options they can check where they can fill in the amount they want to donate--to the NM state parks, for example-- and they can fill in however much they want. I would certainly be happy to add $10, or more if I felt I could afford it.

If you like this idea, please call your representatives and senators, and call more than once! and tell them you want a voluntary added tax option that will dedicate our taxpayer dollars for abortion funding. Maybe you can call it the abortion tax option.

It is outrageous that we are prevented from doing this by the damnable actions of the anti-abortionists.

Posted by: dotellen | November 15, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I just watched the ad--what a pack of lies! It's Harry and Louise all over again.

Posted by: dotellen | November 15, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Most of the comments posted above are very disturbing to me. I was a federal lobbyist for 30+ years. I fully understand the legislative process. You clearly do not. This legislation is a sweeping payoff to the top contributors to Democrats, especially the Trial Lawyers Association of America. Trial lawyers, environmentalists and unions are three of the top campaign contributors to Democrats. You don't believe me? Look it up in FEC records online. Seniors have every right to be concerned about the cuts in Medicare. They are not "GOP astroturf" as someone called them. They are not in bed with large insurance companies. They're concerned citizens who are just trying to perserve their benefits. Those of you who believe some of the totally false comments above remember this: One of these days you will be a senior and the proposed health care reform legislation will leave you out in the cold, too. By the way, health insurance companies operate on about a 3.5% profit margin for providing health insurancce that is the best in the world. You don't believe me? Look it up. So, when you are making comments on this subject, please be armed with the facts. You are simply espousing hateful and incorrect information that you must have heard someone else espousing, instead of reading the proposed legislation to be fully informed. Have you read the legislation? I have. When you've read it, you can comment intelligently. The ingnorant and arrogant comments above suggest you are followers, not leaders. Think about it.

Posted by: ritaorourke | November 16, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

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