KY-Sen: Rand Paul’s Medicare Deductible Problem

If a candidate other than Rand Paul were nominated in Kentucky, given the rightward tilt of the state and the current electoral environment, they would have probably sailed to victory. But Paul’s past statements are really catching up with him and giving Jack Conway an angle to win.

The big issue for Paul recently is his professed support in June 2009 and on other occasions (as you can see from the video) for a $2,000 deductible for Medicare, essentially burdening seniors with more of the costs of the program. Despite this being entirely in line with Paul’s worldview of making customers “smarter shoppers” of health care, and letting the free market rather than the government bring down costs, he knows this would be a poisonous position in a political campaign. In fact, he said just that back in June, to “try selling that one in an election.” Which is why he put up a campaign ad saying he never supported such a deductible.

But when Jack Conway released the footage you see in the video to the right, showing that Paul advocated for this time and time again, and when Paul just this week went on Neil Cavuto and said that he absolutely did support it for people under 55, Paul had to change his ad:

That (first) ad featured this image:

Busted with their lies (do they still not realize video exists?), the Paul camp quickly remixed the ad. It no longer accuses Conway of lying (because he wasn’t). And rather than claiming Paul never supported higher deductibles, it does this:

Conway has also tried to make hay out of a statement by Paul that drug abuse is not a pressing issue in Kentucky. But this Medicare thing, which shows complete and total duplicity on the part of Paul, could actually resonate, especially if the traditional media picks up on it. It illustrates why Democrats still think they can steal this seat, when they really have no business thinking so in this cycle.

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David Dayen

David Dayen