WashPost Fact Check: Biden Erred on GOP Medicare Plan

Thursday, 01 Sep 2011 12:50 PM

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Vice President Joe Biden’s recent comments that Republicans would eliminate Medicare in the next 10 years cross the line, a Washington Post fact check concluded.

“We’re going to debate it. We’re going to debate it straight up. We’re not going to debate it in terms of just being a — political 30-second ads. Paul Ryan laid out their budget. Their budget eviscerates — it eliminates Medicare. They say it doesn’t. It makes it a voucher program. I call that eliminating Medicare in the next 10 years,” Biden told campaign donors in Tulsa on Tuesday, according to a transcript his office provided to the Post.

In checking the veracity of the comments, the Post noted that it has “repeatedly chastised both Democrats and Republicans for making misleading statements on this issue.”

“Biden, in the full quote provided by his office, does acknowledge that the Republicans have a counterargument: ‘They say it doesn’t’ eliminate Medicare. But then he adds, ‘I call it eliminating Medicare in the next 10 years,’” the Post wrote.

“This is where Biden gets in trouble. He might have added the caveat used by President Obama — the end of Medicare ‘as we know it.’ But instead he flatly states that Medicare will be eliminated in 10 years, even though the changes will only begin to affect people retiring then; anyone older than 55 would continue on the current system.”

In conclusion, the Post gives Biden credit for acknowledging that “there is a debate over what the premium support plan would mean for seniors.

“But even if you think Biden is just expressing an opinion, he crosses a line here by flatly saying the GOP plan ‘eliminates’ Medicare in a decade. Let’s hope the actual campaign debate does not descend to such name-calling.”


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