The Republicans developed this odd, upside-downism strategy for dealing with the massive unpopularity of their Medicare plan consisting of brazening through it with two tactics: 1) new messaging that will convince voters that it isn't a really, really bad idea (that doesn't seem to be working, so far); and 2) attacking the Democrats for cutting Medicare Advantage in the Affordable Care Act. It worked for them in 2010, they figure it'll work now, even though just about every House Republican has voted for those very same cuts they are attacking the Dems over, since the plan preserves those cuts from the ACA.
They seem to think this one is going to work, because they are going all in on it. Here's Greg Sargent, writing about a new ad from the NRCC.
Here is the most amazing example of this yet — a remarkable new ad from the NRCC that accuses Dem Rep. Jerry Costello of Illinois of supporting a “Democrat plan” that would “decimate” Medicare, “shred the social safety net,” and “leave seniors at risk”: We’ll be hearing more of this accusation against Dems, so it’s worth a look. The ad claims (emphasis mine) that Costello “backs a Democrat plan the media says would decimate Medicare.” But the source for the claim is an editorial in Investors Business Daily. The ad also says the Democratic plan would “shred the safety net.” But the USA Today editorial cited as the source makes a less direct claim: “Democrats know that the simple math of health care will eventually shred the social safety net they seek to protect.”
The GOP claim that Dems would destroy Medicare is based on the argument that Dems would do nothing at all on Medicare, and that the trustees for Medicare and Social Security have said the programs will become insolvent sooner than expected. Dems counter that they have already passed a slew of Medicare reforms in the Affordable Care Act (even if you argue that they are insufficient, Dems want them to be the basis for further reforms), and that they’re currently involved in the Biden-led deficit reduction talks, which are expected to deal with Medicare.
But when has truth ever gotten in the way of Republican claims? As Sargent says, Republicans have lost on Vouchercare. The public hates it and will continue to hate it, so their only hope is to try to "muddy the waters" and confuse people into thinking that somehow this really bad idea came from the Democrats.
But there's another element that Sargent points out that's interesting. They're arguing now for preserving the social safety net, certainly a new tactic for Republicans. (Somebody should share it with Gov. Chris Christie.) Now they have to convince seniors that having private insurance companies holding the net is actually safety.