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December 03, 2016
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Gibson leads Schreibman in poll; medicare is a big issue

Chris Gibson

19TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, NY — A Siena College poll shows Republican Congressman Chris Gibson with a commanding lead over his opponent Democrat Julian Schreibman. The two candidates are competing for the newly formed 19th Congressional district, which includes Sullivan, Ulster and Delaware counties.

In the northern counties, which Gibson currently represents, his advantage is huge, with the electorate favoring him 63% to 28%. But in other counties the margin is smaller: in Ulster and Dutchess the lead is 44% to 42%, and in Sullivan and Delaware, it’s 51% to 37%.

Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said one of the big factors working against Schreibman is name recognition. He said, “Schreibman is unknown to nearly two-thirds of the voters, including more than half who currently say they are voting for him.”

In response to the poll, the Schreibman campaign issued a release saying the race still has a long way to go. It said, “Almost exactly two years ago to the day, Siena released a poll showing Congressman Scott Murphy up by 17 points; six weeks later, he lost by 10 points.” Murphy lost to Gibson in the 20th district.

The Schreibman release then went on to attack Gibson on a matter where he thinks the Republican is vulnerable. The release said, “Most voters have not yet had a chance to learn about how Congressman Gibson voted to end Medicare’s guarantee of coverage and make seniors pay an additional $6,400 a year and has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and cut women’s access to lifesaving procedures, such as cancer screenings and mammograms,” said Jonathan Levy, Schreibman’s campaign manager. “Given how voters are already rejecting the Romney-Ryan ticket in this district, they're not going to vote for someone like Congressman Gibson who is 100% behind that agenda.’” (According to the poll, the Obama/Biden ticket has a 49% to 45% lead over the Romney/Ryan ticket in the district.)

In a phone interview, Schreibman also attacked Gibson’s position on Medicare. He said, “Congressman Gibson voted for the Paul Ryan budget in 2011, which even The Wall Street Journal said essentially ends Medicare. What it does is it ends the guarantee of coverage. Right now, when you’re on Medicare you have health insurance. Under the Ryan plan that Chris Gibson referred to as his own plan, that guarantee ends.

The government gives you a coupon to buy insurance in the private market,” but he said the coupons will not be funded enough to cover the rising cost of healthcare.

Gibson did not respond to a request for a comment, but a statement on his website says, “Chris will not vote for any legislation that cuts benefits to current recipients of Medicare or Social Security, and will only vote for a bill that makes certain these programs are stronger in the future.
With Medicare projected to be bankrupt within a decade, keeping the status quo ends Medicare.”

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, only part of Medicare will face bankruptcy if lawmakers do not alter the funding formulas, and that will happen in 2024 to Medicare’s Health Insurance Trust Fund. After 2024, the trust fund will be able to pay 87% of the costs that will likely be incurred.

The Center says “The 2024 date does not apply to Medicare coverage for physician and outpatient costs or to the Medicare prescription drug benefit; these parts of Medicare do not face insolvency and cannot run short of funds … because revenue contributions are specifically set at levels to assure this is the case”