Thursday, June 30, 2011

Medicare Ad Wars Continue, Lieberman-Coburn Bad Idea for Poor People, Trimming Billions While Keeping Services

More Medicare Ads Hit Republicans

"Priorities USA is up with ads in Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Colorado for the next two weeks, arguing the GOP budget will 'essentially end Medicare for future retirees,' 'slash education,' and 'tear down the middle class.'"   Watch the ad.   Priorities USA -- a "fundraising group supporting President Barack Obama's re-election bid -- is airing ads accusing Republicans of blocking progress on the economy."

It would seem that the accusation is true, considering that Conservative Republicans have no political incentive to help improve the economy.  I don't know when I've ever seen such extreme political positions which leave no known room for progress or compromise.  America is in trouble.

Poor Hit Hardest by Lieberman-Coburn Medicare Changes

As noted in yesterday's Medicare Daily Report, the Lieberman-Coburn Medicare proposal is a bad idea because it shifts costs to beneficiaries when they are least unable to afford them.  Another reason why the Lieberman / Coburn Medicare proposal is a bad idea is that it would raise the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67 by 2025.  "Life expectancy is a fairly complicated measurement that varies drastically across geographical and economic lines.  Any proposal that increases the program’s eligibility age would disproportionately affect people in both the poorest states and lowest income brackets." 

Many of the proposed changes to Medicare sound more and more like an assault on the poor.  Clearly, retired people not only have less money to spend but also must spend more on medical care.  Medicaid also is under attack.

Meanwhile, top Democrats are rejecting the Lieberman-Coburn plan to cut Medicare spending.  "Leading congressional Democrats immediately recoiled Tuesday from a new proposal to cut $600 billion in Medicare spending over the next decade -- in part by raising the eligibility age.  ...  The proposal echoes Republican demands that entitlement reform -- especially deep cuts in Medicare spending -- be a part of any agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling."

How to Trim Billions from Medicare

Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress is making suggestions for how to trim hundreds of billions from Medicare and Medicaid without reducing services.  "The ballooning cost of health care is a major driving force behind the budget deficit.  While the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit by $230 billion over 10 years, we can save hundreds of billions more by reforming the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and by reducing Medicare and Medicaid payment errors."  Their list is really quite short considering how much it might save.  Be sure to check it out.


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