Yesterday was a very quiet political day for Medicare, but it was only a short break. Keep on the lookout for news as the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction starts its work today.
Joint Committee - Lobbyists Getting Started
"The powerful new congressional panel assigned to tame the deficit will have to squeeze Medicare and Medicaid for any chance of success. But health care industries that depend on those programs have invested millions over the years to woo its members. Doctors, drugmakers, hospitals and health insurers have contributed $17 million since 1989 to the individual campaigns of lawmakers now on the debt supercommittee, a new analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics finds."
While some refer to the Joint Committee as the "supercommittee," you should be clear that supercontributors will have a lot to say about what they expect to happen in return for those supercontributions.
As noted in TMDR before, "The powerful healthcare industry hopes a congressional 'super committee' tasked with slashing America's debt will fail and is lobbying instead for automatic spending cuts that will kick in if the panel deadlocks. Much of the health sector believes the spending cuts, which will be triggered if the committee fails to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years, will be less draconian than any deficit-reduction deal, according to lobbyists and healthcare groups interviewed by Reuters."
It's understandable, and another example of how vested interests are pushing and pulling the process.
Joint Committee - Liberals Worried
"Few people would question Sen. Patty Murray's liberal bona fides. The Washington Democrat ranks as one of Congress' most ardent champions of social programs for children, seniors, veterans, the unemployed and the poor. Yet, as the congressional deficit-reduction committee Murray co-chairs gears up for its first hearing Thursday, progressive advocates are fretting over just how much zeal she will show in defending Social Security, Medicare and other safety-net programs."
Sen. Murray is in a difficult position and is being very guarded in her remarks. Actions do speak louder than words, and it's inevitable that she will take action at some point.
"Karl Rove slammed GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry on ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday, calling his views on Social Security 'toxic.' In Perry’s book Fed Up!, which was released less than a year ago, he described Social Security as a 'Ponzi scheme' and a 'failure' that exists 'at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government.'" "Such views, Rove said, are 'toxic in a general-election environment, and they are also toxic in a Republican primary.'"
We've been saying as much about his views on Medicare. Surely, none of this is new to the Perry campaign. So, the questions become "How will they disguise or spin his thinking? How can they package and sell his extreme views?" Elections have been made of less.
False Choice: Romney vs. Perry
"Romneycare Vs. Perrycare -- The latest Gallup Poll has a good comparison of what Govs. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have achieved when it comes to health care policy and why Perry’s attacks against RomneyCare will trigger a rather unflattering comparison for the Texan." The facts: Massachusetts (Romney) ranks best (5.3 %) and Texas (Perry) ranks worst (27.2 %) of all states in terms of the percentage of uninsured residents.