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Democrats turn guns on GOP over Medicare

Ahead of last year's midterm elections, groups sympathetic to Republicans ran (sometimes questionable) ads hammering Democrats for voting to cut Medicare in connection with the health care reform law.

Now, in the wake of the House GOP deficit-reduction proposal that would turn Medicare into a voucher program, it's Democrats' chance to go on the offensive on the issue. And with the 2012 elections looming, they're not passing it up.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a humorous web ad today in which seniors are shown selling lemonade, mowing lawns, and, well, stripping to make up the money they would need to pay for their health care under the Republican plan.

Democrats have seized on the GOP plan as reflecting Republicans' desire to give tax breaks to the rich while taking benefits from seniors, who tend to vote in larger numbers then most Americans. It also launched ads in 25 districts calling on local Republicans "to keep his hands off our Medicare," though the ad buys were very small.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has found that because the GOP plan doesn't keep pace with the rising cost of health care, seniors would be paying an estimated 68 percent of their own insurance costs by 2030.

Republicans know that taking on Medicare is politically perilous, but with entitlement programs a major driver of the federal deficit, they elected to propose major changes to the program this year. President Obama's deficit reduction plan would reduce Medicare spending "by leveraging Medicare's purchasing power," and cut Medicare spending $100 billion over a decade.

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