Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Dueling ads in Arkansas Senate race turn to Medicare

Rep. Tom Cotton released an ad accusing his 2014 opponent, Sen. Mark Pryor, of "cutting Medicare to pay for Obamacare."

The 2014 midterm elections are almost a full year away, but we’ve already seen heated back-and-forth in the Arkansas Senate race, where Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, will face off against U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, a Republican.

Their latest round of ads focused on Medicare, with familiar claims that we heard during both the 2012 and 2010 election cycles.

At PolitiFact, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the candidates. Pryor met the Truth-O-Meter for the first time, while Cotton has a few checks under his belt.

See each fact-check for a full explanation of our rating and our sourcing.

Mark Pryor "cut Medicare to pay for Obamacare."

-- Tom Cotton, Nov. 13, 2013 in an ad

The Affordable Care Act, which Pryor supports, aims to curb spending growth in Medicare by more than $700 billion. But the savings will come from funds going to hospitals and insurance companies, not from beneficiaries. We rated this claim Half True.

Tom Cotton "voted to turn Medicare into a voucher system."

-- Mark Pryor, Nov. 13, 2013 in an ad

Pryor’s ad refers to Cotton’s vote in favor of the most recent budget proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. The budget proposed that Medicare enrollees be given government payments to either put toward traditional Medicare plans or private plans. There’s debate about the word "voucher," but we think it captures the gist of the program. We rated this claim Mostly True.