Elections

Campaign Watchdog: Claim that Paul supports $2,000 Medicare deductible 'mostly true'

Each week, the Herald-Leader will fact-check statements made by candidates and their surrogates in the campaigns for Lexington mayor, the 6th Congressional District and U.S. Senate.

The statement: "Voters have a choice between someone who's going to stand up and protect Medicare and someone who says in Medicare we need a $2,000 deductible."

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway in an October 3, 2010, debate criticizing Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul

The ruling: Mostly true

mostly trueThe facts: On several occasions, including a speech in June of last year to the conservative Center-Right Coalition in Lexington, Paul asserted Medicare would best be run under a "market-based system."

"And the real answer to Medicare would be a $2,000 deductible, but try selling that one in an election," Paul said at the time.

He took a similar, but more clearly defined, stance following the Oct. 3 debate on Fox News during an appearance on that network's Your World with Neil Cavuto show. In that interview, Paul made clear he was not advocating a change for people already on Medicare or Social Security.

"I'm not talking about changing the deductible on anyone who gets Medicare currently," Paul said on the show. "But I am saying younger people — probably 55 and under."

Paul now says he was only suggesting a "possible answer" to sustain Medicare. "I threw out a possible answer, but I immediately said in all those speeches that it wouldn't work," Paul said Wednesday on WVLK-AM's Sue Wylie Show.

In September 2009, however, Paul said during a town hall meeting that he planned to push the idea of a higher deductible despite a possible political backlash.

"A $2,000 Medicare deductible would solve a huge amount of problems," Paul said at one point during the meeting. "The hard part is, how do you present this on national TV? What's going to happen to me in a statewide race if I tell people I think the Medicare deductible is going to be higher? Am I going to be hooted out of the room?

"I'm willing to take a risk because I think it's the right thing to do" because the other option is a publicly funded health care system like Canada's, he said.

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