by David Safier
One of the Republican's biggest talking points is that Obama cut $713 billion from Medicare. Democrats respond, Ryan has the exact same dollar cut — $713 billion — in his plan. In Clinton's convention speech, speaking about Ryan's hypocrisy, he ad-libbed, "It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did."
It seems to me it's not partisan, it's just honest and balanced, to include the $713 billion figure for Ryan if you're going to mention it in relation to Democrats. Apparently the Star's Brady McCombs disagrees, since he uses "$700 billion" referring to Democrats in a Sunday article but doesn't mention a dollar figure when talking about the Ryan plan. The only way I can "defend" his choice in the article is to say McCombs knows about the "$700 billion" figure from covering Jesse Kelly's campaign, but since he only covers local and state politics, he hasn't paid much attention to the national Democratic counter-argument.
Here's the passage in McCombs' article about Jeff Flake:
Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has a Medicare overhaul plan that would reduce the fixed insurance payment to retirees, which Republicans say would bring down costs by forcing retirees and doctors to be more cost-conscious about health-care decisions. Ryan's proposal also offers future retirees an option of private coverage that the government would help pay for through a voucherlike system, while keeping the traditional program as an option.
Democrats say Medicare vouchers would increase costs for seniors currently using the program. The Democrat-backed health care reform of 2010 includes more than $700 billion in estimated cost reductions to Medicare over a decade.
Notice, no dollar figure is attached to the way Republicans say they "would bring down costs," but "The Democrat-backed health care reform of 2010 includes more than $700
billion in estimated cost reductions to Medicare over a decade."
I'm going with ignorance to explain this egregious imbalance by McCombs. He uses the $700 billion figure Jesse Kelly bandied around during the election, not the $713 billion figure almost everyone is using in the presidential race, which indicates to me he's retreating to his comfort zone — the Kelly-Barber campaign he covered extensively. Whether it was ignorance or a conscious choice, the absence of a dollar figure on the Ryan cuts is an example of terrible journalism.