Leaders of both parties will hold dueling press conferences in Pittsburgh today to debate the fate of Medicare. The issue has burst forth since Paul Ryan was picked to be Mitt Romney's VP, and I have a story today on the local angle . . . which will draw national focus too:
A much-watched congressional race outside Pittsburgh may provide the perfect laboratory for studying how the Medicare changes proposed by GOP vice presidential pick Paul Ryan impact the political landscape this fall.
The 12th District race between U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, and attorney Keith Rothfus, a Republican of Sewickley, is among the top targets nationwide for Republicans this year. The district, formerly represented by the late Democrat John Murtha, voted for Republican John McCain in 2008 and was redrawn by GOP mapmakers to be even more favorable for their party. The National Republican Congressional Committee's largest initial television buy of the fall, launching Friday, will assail Mr. Critz here in the Pittsburgh market.
The district is also home to the largest percentages of Medicare recipients in the entire country. The Critz campaign targeted Mr. Ryan's proposal to issue future seniors private insurance vouchers as its lead attack point on Mr. Rothfus early this summer and with good reason: Westmoreland and Beaver counties have the highest per-capita participation in Medicare Advantage in the nation, according to July 2012 statistics from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, followed by Allegheny County at sixth and Cambria at ninth.
The NYT's Carl Hulse has a look at the impacts on House/Senate races nationally.
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