RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The latest political football being kicked back and forth by Democrats and Republicans: Cutting Medicare.

When President Joe Biden accused some Republicans of wanting to trim spending for it, those GOP lawmakers booed him.

And now a new television ad accuses Biden of being the one who is doing the cutting, and hitting 15 Democrats in Congress — including U.S. Reps. Wiley Nickel and Don Davis in North Carolina — of being silently complicit.

But are its claims accurate?

THE CLAIM: The ad says President Biden is “proposing massive Medicare Advantage cuts” that could “slash over $500 in benefits” per person, then goes after Nickel for being “silent.”

THE FACTS: The 30-second ad was produced by the American Action Network, a group closely tied to the Republican Party that spent $2 million on ads targeting those Congressional Democrats — including both Nickel and Davis, who represents the state’s 1st Congressional District.

In a statement issued shortly after the ad began airing, Nickel called it false.

“I ran on not just protecting, but expanding Medicare benefits for North Carolina seniors to bring down the cost of healthcare for working Americans,” Nickel said. “In Congress, I’ll always stand up for our seniors and continue to support lower prescription drug prices and expanded Medicare benefits. The same far-right funders that backed my Trump-endorsed 2022 opponent are distorting the facts because they know I’ll always stand with North Carolina seniors and families over their special interest agenda.”

So what’s really happening here?

Under Medicare Advantage — or Medicare Part C — Medicare submits a fixed payment to private insurers who then pay enrollees’ healthcare expenses.

But the Biden Administration says the government for years has been overpaying insurers by billions of dollars, and will begin recovering those overpayments beginning in April.

Beginning next year, they also will change how those insurers will be paid.

A. Bowen Garrett, a Medicare expert at the Urban Institute, says the government is “practicing stewardship” and “addressing some issues where there’s waste.”

“And really only taking some very modest steps to address types of waste that have long been known to exist,” he said.

“It’s a modest step in the right direction towards promoting sustainability of the Medicare program and fiscal responsibility,” he added.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in January that the medical records of people enrolled in Medicare Advantage do not always match the diagnoses reported by those plans, leading to “billions of dollars in overpayments to plans and increased costs to the Medicare program as well as taxpayers.” But those overpayments have not been collected since 2007.

CMS estimates that the changes in the payment process will result in a 1 percent increase in payments next year to insurers per person enrolled. It climbed by about 8 percent in 2023 and 4 percent the year before that, Garrett said.

It’s not accurate to call it a cut, CMS and other experts say. Garrett says it’s “generally part of the the the normal rate-setting process that happens each year.”

“What is expected to happen as a net result of these modest changes is a slowing in the rate of growth of payments to Medicare Advantage plans, payments that are widely understood to be too high for a variety of reasons that have just emerged over time,” he said.

It’s worth mentioning that the ad also includes a claim that CBS 17 has repeatedly debunked in a series of fact checks: That an “army of agents at IRS” is coming to audit “honest taxpayers.”

And it’s also instructive to look closer at a pair of the sources it cites.

Two are health insurance lobbying groups: AHIP — America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade association for insurance companies — and Better Medicare Alliance, which is funded by UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Humana.

“Of course, there are different interests,” Garrett said. “These private plans, you know, are interested in their business performance. Beneficiaries are interested in … how much they pay in premiums, what they’re getting in extra benefits. The federal government has a responsibility both to the beneficiaries and making sure that they have a good program and a fiduciary duty to taxpayers and those beneficiaries to keep the cost as low as possible, right? So you have to balance all of these things.”