McCain spokesman denies Obama's Medicare claims

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McCain spokesman denies Obama's Medicare claims
McCain spokesman denies Obama's Medicare claims
Sen. Barack Obama (D) recently accused his rival in the presidential race of planning to slice $882 billion from Medicare to fund his healthcare plan. It is a charge Sen. John McCain's (R) camp refutes.

Speaking to supporters at a rally in Roanoke, VA, Obama said that McCain's healthcare plan would involve a 20% cut to Medicare benefits next year. The plan "would mean fewer places to get care, and less freedom to choose your own doctors." He went on to say his opponent's plan would lead to higher drug costs, fewer services and lower quality of care. Obama also has charged that McCain's healthcare plan would require "cuts in benefits, eligibility or both" to Medicare.

These charges misrepresent McCain's actual plan, according to top McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin. McCain would reduce Medicare spending through increased use of electronic health records, increased use of generic medications, elimination of federal subsidies for Medicare Advantage plans, more effective treatment of chronic conditions, and increased focus on prevention and primary care, and other actions. The changes McCain would make to Medicare would reduce spending but have a minimal effect on benefits, the adviser said.

Both candidates' healthcare proposals can be viewed on their respective websites, www.barackobama.com and www.johnmccain.com.