Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Medicare Wars: Part 2, Payroll Tax & Medicare

Ryan Still Pursues Victory Over Medicare

"It’s shaping up to be spring 2011 redux.  Just under a year ago, Republicans -- euphoric after a midterm election landslide, and overzealous in their interpretation of their mandate -- passed a budget that called for phasing out Medicare over the coming years and replacing it with a subsidized private insurance system for newly eligible seniors."

"The backlash was ugly.  But Republicans seem to have forgotten how poisonous that vote really was, and remains … because they’re poised to do it again.  This time they’re signaling they’ll move ahead, with a modified plan -- one that, though less radical, would still fundamentally remake and roll back one of the country’s most popular and enduring safety net programs."

Republicans Debate Medicare and Tax Cut

"Top Democrats are openly calling into doubt the chances that Congressional negotiators will reach an agreement to renew the payroll tax cut before it expires at the end of the month.  The culprit, they say, is a deep schism within the Republican conference over whether the tax holiday is a good policy or just a political gimmick to help President Obama win re-election."

"For now, the hardliners are winning.  And the result is a growing public fight over how to pay for the nearly $200 billion package -- which would both renew the payroll tax cut, extend emergency unemployment benefits, and prevent an automatic cut to Medicare physician reimbursements.  The battle comes as the GOP renews its demands of reforming the unemployment program to allow states to impose restrictions like drug testing on beneficiaries."

MORE:  House and Senate at Impasse on Medicare Payments  "House and Senate negotiators are deadlocked over how to prevent a deep cut in Medicare payments to doctors who treat millions of Medicare beneficiaries, an impasse that could threaten broader legislation on a payroll tax cut."

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