Michigan GOP targets Schauer in new TV ad

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — With 27 days to go until Election Day, the Michigan Republican Party is attacking Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mark Schauer's vote for the Affordable Care Act while in Congress in a new television ad.

In its first gubernatorial TV ad this year, the state GOP used an actress to decry more than $700 billion in reduced Medicare spending as a result of the passage of President Barack Obama's health care law in 2010.

"Mark Schauer and other Washington politicians voted to slash funding for Medicare by $700 billion," the older female actress says in the ad. "That's your money. The insurance companies made a killing, and you lost what's rightfully yours."

The actress sternly urges TV viewers to tell Schauer "that paying for Obamacare with your Medicare dollars was just plain wrong."

Schauer, of Battle Creek, served one term in Congress from 2009-2010 — representing Michigan's 7th District — during the first two years of Obama's administration and passage of the president's signature domestic policy.

The Affordable Care Act scaled back payments to hospitals and private insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans, resulting in a $716 billion projected savings from 2013 to 2022, according to a 2012 estimate by the Congressional Budget Office.

Annual Medicare spending continues to rise, but the reduced payments for Medicare Advantage plans created under former President George W. Bush is expected to slow growth in the entitlement program, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation health care research organization.

In the 2012 election cycle, Republicans attempted the label Obama's savings measures to make Medicare more financially sustainable a "cut" in benefits for seniors — a claim PolitiFact.com called a "half truth."

"Mark Schauer's vote to slash Medicare spending by $716 billion is a critical issue and something that people need to know," said Darren Littell, communications director of the Michigan Republican Party.

But AARP, which backed the Affordable Care Act, has said claims that Obama and congressional Democrats raided Medicare to pay for the Affordable Care Act are a "myth" that's "simply not true."

New Schauer ad

Meanwhile, Schauer launched a new TV ad Tuesday that continues to take Gov. Rick Snyder to task for his $1.8 billion tax cut for businesses and imposing the 4.25 percent income tax on more pension income.

"It's no wonder Rick Snyder's economy isn't working for so many in Michigan," Schauer says in the ad. "Gov. Snyder gives tax breaks to businesses, even if they outsource jobs. And he created a new tax on seniors' retirement. As governor, I'll end the Snyder Pension Tax."

Schauer has not said where exactly he'll get the $350 million Snyder's pension tax generates annually to balance the budget.

In the new ad, Schauer also pledged to "give tax incentives" to companies that create jobs. "And if they send those jobs overseas, I'll make them repay every penny," Schauer said.

Snyder has said his business tax largely benefited small to medium-size companies because it eliminated all taxes for 95,000 S-corporations, limited liability companies and sole proprietors. The owners of those companies are now subject to the 4.25 percent individual income tax on their business earnings instead of the complex Michigan Business Tax that Snyder and the Republican-controlled Legislature eliminated.

Schauer's campaign fired back at the Michigan Republican Party's ad on Wednesday as both camps vie for older voters who may already be casting absentee ballots ahead of the Nov. 4 election.

"Rick Snyder has demonstrated time and again that he puts the wealthy and big corporations ahead of Michigan seniors," Schauer spokeswoman Cathy Bacile Cunningham said in a statement.


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