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John Sherman, Moorhead, Published September 16 2012

Letter: North Dakota way not pretty

One of the advantages of living in Moorhead is that I can usually tune out the political advertising on local TV, like the stupid attempt to link Heidi Heitkamp, who was living and working in North Dakota in 2010, with the Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare,” which Congress passed in 2010.

Still, it’s worth noticing the ads claiming that President Barack Obama took $500 billion or $700 billion or $716 billion from Medicare; different as the figures may be, they have one thing in common: They are all lies.

What the ads refer to is the intent to reduce the growth of Medicare by $716 billion over the next 10 years by increases in efficiency. The reduction will not harm Medicare, but it might do serious harm to Medicare Advantage, a lollipop the Bush administration gave the health insurance industry allowing them to offer what is essentially Medicare at inflated rates on the taxpayer’s dime. The changes won’t mean that your grandma is going to die because Obama took away her meds, but they may mean that when health insurance executives dine on their corporate jets, they’ll have to eat off of silver, rather than gold, plates.

Since the Senate Republicans filibustered the DISCLOSE Act apparently to death, we may never know who is paying for those millions in TV advertising (Forum, Sept. 12), but I’d bet there’s some health industry money in the mix.

If these ads, probably produced and funded out of state, are examples, as they keep claiming, of the “North Dakota way,” it’s another reason to be glad I live in Minnesota.