It's been more than 337 days since Republican congressional candidate Matt Doheny said he would provide solutions to problems with Medicare, according to his opponent's campaign team.
Bill Owens for Congress posted a clock on its website on Thursday that keeps track of how long it's been since Doheny promised to address specific changes he'd make to the Medicare program. Doheny, a businessman from Watertown, is the Republican, Conservative and Independence party candidate in the race for New York's 21st Congressional District seat, currently held by Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh.
A statement accompanying the clock, which can be viewed at www.billowensforcongress.com, cites a Sept. 21, 2011, Watertown Daily Times interview with Doheny.
"Throughout the campaign, we're going to talk about specific changes" to Medicare, Doheny told the newspaper.
"Even with Paul Ryan as the vice presidential nominee, can he go a full year without expressing any substantive opinion on the basic tenets of the Ryan plan? Check back to find out," Owens' website says. It includes a ticker that keeps track of the days, hours, minutes and seconds since Doheny promised to talk about his plan.
Owens' campaign team asked whether Doheny would support changing Medicare from a guaranteed benefit to a program in which seniors would be "forced to buy insurance on the private market with a government voucher," and asked if he would support reopening the Medicare Part D "donut hole," something Democrats say would drive up the price of prescription drugs for seniors.
The Owens campaign also asked whether Doheny would support using savings achieved through privatizing Medicare to pay for tax cuts for wealthy Americans.
Responding to the clock, Doheny spokesman Jude Seymour said, "We can count, too."
"It's been 887 days since Bill Owens voted to cut Medicare by more than $700 billion, and put 15 unelected bureaucrats in charge of deciding which seniors receive care and which do not," he said in an emailed statement. "Owens also claimed to have read the 2,700 page Obamacare bill before voting on it - and then admitted he voted for new taxes that will kill jobs in this district. These job losses will be on top of the 5,200 we've already lost in this region since he's been a Congressman."
Seymour said Doheny wants to keep the promise made to current Medicare recipients and those preparing to enter the program. He said the Republican also wants to work toward a "strong, secure future for Medicare.
"He looks forward to sharing his ideas as our campaign unfolds," Seymour said.
Pressed for a timeline about when Doheny will detail his Medicare reforms, Seymour told the Enterprise that jobs is the number-one issue.
"Our opponent even says it," he said. "But he doesn't want to talk about jobs, because he's got a terrible jobs record. He wants to distract voters from that issue.
"Meanwhile, Matt has been out talking to business owners for the past seven weeks about his plans to help jump-start our economy. Matt knows Medicare is an issue that people are also concerned about, so he'll definitely be sharing his ideas in the coming weeks."
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.