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August 15, 2012 9:35 AM About Those Medicare “Cuts”

By Ed Kilgore

Even as would-be Medicare voucherizer (or “premium supporter,” if you prefer) Paul Ryan has joined the ticket and made his budget its agenda, the Romney campaign seems to have intensified what may be compensatory efforts to claim that the Obama administration is ravaging Medicare with cuts aimed at paying for the Affordable Care Act. Both Romney and Ryan are prattling constantly about the “$716 billion cut” in Medicare, suggesting not so subtly that it’s money out of virtuous seniors’ pockets that’s going right to those people—you know, the ones Obama really cares about.

At WaPo’s Wonkblog this morning, Sarah Kliff usefully deconstructs the issue, noting that the famous $716 billion does not involve any benefit cuts, and is composed roughly in thirds of (a) reduced subsidies for the grossly expensive Medicare Advantage pet rock that Republicans have foisted on the program in a failed effort to show how competition could reduce Medicare costs; (b) lower reimbursement rates for hospitals, which supported this change in the expectation that ACA would give them more patients; and (c) miscellaneous reimbursement changes affecting hospitals and home health providers, among others, but again, not affecting benefits or the availability of services.

But aside from the misleading use of the term “cuts” in describing ObamaCare’s impact on Medicare, there’s a much bigger problem for Romney and Ryan: at least one version of Ryan’s own budget resolution that passed the House pocketed the exact same Medicare savings. Now Romney’s claiming he’ll put the money back, though it appears this may simply mean life will get so much better in a Romney administration that Medicare’s solvency will magically be extended.

So on top of the little problem of these “cuts” not being “cuts” and the hypocrisy of attacking “cuts” you have yourself endorsed, Romney and Ryan are also ignoring improvements in Medicare services and costs established by ACA, as noted by TNR’s Jonathan Cohn:

A smaller, but still significant, portion of the money is for seniors. It helps them pay for prescription drugs, by filling the “donut hole” in Medicare Par D coverage. It also eliminates out-of-pocket costs for annual wellness visits, some cancer screenings, and other preventative services. Those benefits have actually started already: In the first six months of this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 16 million seniors took advantage of the free preventative care provision.

All that goes away if ACA is repealed.

Now it’s probably true that all these details are insignificant as compared to the intended effect of blowing so much smoke on Medicare that voters don’t really believe either side. Given Ryan’s vulnerability on the subject, that’s quite valuable. But it’s definitely worth remembering and mentioning every time you hear a Republican accuse Democrats of using “Mediscare” tactics. At least the benefit reductions warned of in connection with the Ryan budget are real, unless you think medical inflation is about to vanish and those vouchers or “premium supports” will actually keep up with costs.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Nick MacPlato on August 15, 2012 9:45 AM:

    You liberals need to be saved. - Start here

     Lord Job Creator,  Who art in Wall Street, London, Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Peking, and Rancho Cucamonga.

    Hallow be thy names, and hallow be the name of Prince George of W.

    Thy Election come.
    Thy will be done, in my state as it is in Texas

    Give us this day our soup and bread,
    And forgive us our poor cloths,  as we forgive those who
    foreclosed against us,
    Lead us not into inflation,
    but deliver us from Kenyan economics.

    For thine is the kingdom,
    and the power, and the glorious wealth
    for ever and ever.
    Amen


    DOWN ON YOUR KNEES AND PRAY TO YOUR BETTERS

  • T2 on August 15, 2012 9:52 AM:

    I continue to read articles and see TV programs treating Romney's lie about Obama stealing 700 billion from Medicare as either a truth or a "he said,she said" type of campaign tactic. It is neither, it is a fabrication/lie. So why is it the nation is not told the truth?
    Can the entire Media be in the pocket of the GOP? Is there indeed a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy? Those two questions can be answered with Yes.
    I believe the failure of the Media to stop these lies is evidence that the Right understands it is facing certain defeat in November, a defeat which could finally end this terrible chapter of GOP/TP hypocrisy.

  • c u n d gulag on August 15, 2012 9:57 AM:

    MSM:
    "Numbers - EEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWW!!!

    We don't speak 'math.'
    We only speak talking points.

    What's that Governor and Congressman?
    No!
    So it's not you, it's really THE DEMOCRATS who want to _________________________ (fill-in the blank)?
    Ok, we got it. GOOD ONE, sirs!
    You bet we'll tell everyone!
    We'll get right on it!!!"

    OY!!!

  • cal on August 15, 2012 10:01 AM:

    repubs are not in the position of denying reality. Global warming? Total lie except when people watch the news and hear about drought, heat waves, colorado on fire, and food prices spiking. Gun control? No need except now there's a shooting a week. $700 billion going to black people but my medicare or my parents is improved- donut hole, wellness visits etc. We might hit a tipping point for republican credibility that will be devastating.

  • majun on August 15, 2012 10:08 AM:

    It is worse than you portray it. Ryan has been clear that his budget numbers rely on "current law", meaning that he intends to keep the Obamacare Medicare savings intact. But the difference is what each intends to do with those savings. Obama intends to spend it on Seniors, giving them other benefits on top of what they already have. Ryan intends to cut Mitt Romney's tax rate from the confiscatory 14% he is currently paying to something approaching the zero bound for taxes.

    Now nobody has asked Ryan what his contingency is if he is elected and the GOP takes control of both houses of Congress, where they have vowed to repeal Obamacare. In other words does he keep those $716 billions in savings, or does his budget suddenly have a $716 billion hole in it? Inquiring minds want to know. It would be nice if the MSM would actually do their job and ask serious, well-informed questions, and report the news instead of mediating it with their "he said/he said" faux objectivity. Increasingly there is no moral equivalence between the policies of the two dominant parties. One side seeks a level playing field and the other side seeks an acceleration of the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top 1%.

  • Celui on August 15, 2012 10:13 AM:

    Help me out, here. Given that so much of the recent, daily blather from the Ryan-Romney camp is nothing more than blatant lying construed to, once again, bedevil the real issues and hoodwink the voters, where is the fourth estate in this? Is there a possibility that some credible personae, some resources without ties to big business, some honest broker will find a public voice to refute these lies? Bill Moyers, for sure. Ed Kilgore at the forefront also. Steve Benen right there with them. How can the visual voices of the airwaves be brought along? Can they be 'encouraged' (embarrassed) to begin to question these spurrious claims by the voices of continued social and economic racism? Can these same high-profile hairdos be cajoled into challenging the smears, innuendo, and distortions of their interviewees? Maybe, if any of them can grow a backbone...... Stay tuned.............................

  • c u n d gulag on August 15, 2012 10:19 AM:

    MSM POV:
    "We object to you objecting to our objective 'he-said/she-said' reporting - objectively speaking, of course.

    We aren't answerable to you, our viewers, our listeners, or our readers.
    We are objective, and are answerable TO NO ONE!

    Except our corporations and the bosses who sign our checks!

    You should see our checks!
    'Cuase then, you'd understand!!!

    We may be easy - BUT WE DON'T COME CHEAP!!!!!!!!"

  • stormskies on August 15, 2012 10:22 AM:

    The sad truth about the vast amount of the corporate media is exactly what Scott McClellan said: "They are 'actively complicit' in enabling the corporate/ Repiglican agenda.

    All these corporate 'journalists' are in fact hired by the corporations to act upon their agendas. And just like any employee they do what they are hired to do.

    As a result a vast amount of the corporate media in not only corrupt, not only derelict in their duties to our nation, but are, in my mind, criminals. White collar criminals who are a clear and present danger to what is left of our once great country.

  • Merrill Goozner on August 15, 2012 10:22 AM:

    Deconstruction of Romney's false claim that the ACA "cuts" $716 million comes from the CBO. As I pointed out in this piece yesterday (http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/08/14/No-Matter-Who-Wins-Health-Care-Rationing-Is-Coming.aspx#page1), the ACA "rations" health care by cutting payments to providers and insurance companies; the Romney-Ryan premium support plan forces seniors to pay (or forgo care) to achieve the GDP + .5% cost-cutting goal.

  • T2 on August 15, 2012 10:26 AM:

    over at NBCN, First Read is all over the Romney/Obama Medicare story - without once mentioning that Romney's add is grossly misleading relative to the $700 billion cuts. When you write a big paragraph on something and leave out the part about it being a lie....you are basically covering up a lie.

  • Epicurus on August 15, 2012 10:38 AM:

    Can we just come out and say it? The Romney/Ryan team is lying, lying, LYING about the President's record, about their own policies, frankly about everything. Then Rmoney has the absolute gall to accuse Obama of running a "dirty campaign." Nice try, Mittens, but we are not buying it. To quote the Coen Brothers, "Twist a pig's ear. Watch him squeal." Guess the President's campaign has been pulling on little Willard's ear; he doesn't seem to like it much.

  • T2 on August 15, 2012 10:44 AM:

    @Epicurus, notice there has been absolutely nothing about Romney's tax returns this week? Last weeks biggest story, which had him on the ropes, has now just disappeared. Guess we'll never find out what he is hiding there. Great reporting, huh?

  • DAY on August 15, 2012 10:46 AM:

    Chill, folks; nobody cares about any of this.
    "What's for dinner, let me see that report card, wanna fool around"
    After Labor Day the yard signs will begin to bloom, and the percentage of people that may actually go to the polls will tune in to FOX/CNN/MSNBC to have the choices they made last cycle validated.

    As evidence of all this, I merely say look at the last 50 or so years of presidential elections.

    But Kilgore et al need to show their employers work product, and we need an outlet our fury and frustration.

    If you want to save some time, just check out Nate Silver once a week. And get a hobby.

  • DarrellyqiBent on August 15, 2012 11:05 AM:

    like Juanita explained I'm shocked that some one able to earn $5175 in a few weeks on the computer. did you read this site (Click on menu Home more information) http://goo.gl/tWSJN

  • DarrellyqiBent on August 15, 2012 11:07 AM:

    as Anna replied I'm alarmed that a mother able to profit $5354 in a few weeks on the internet. did you see this site (Click on menu Home more information) http://goo.gl/CFkrz

  • emjayay on August 15, 2012 11:24 AM:

    SPAM ALERT AT 11:07!!!!!!!!!

    (How does this get by Captcha when I can't read most of them?) Some kind of hacking?

  • Jimo on August 15, 2012 11:41 AM:

    Goodness! Are Democrats going to behave like Democrats on this issue?

    Describe this as "eliminating Waste, Fraud, and Abuse" and move on.

  • dbrane on August 15, 2012 2:40 PM:

    Can it really be that people cannot distinguish between "cuts" and "cost savings"?

  • Just wondering on August 15, 2012 3:40 PM:

    How exactly do "(a) reduced subsidies for the grossly expensive Medicare Advantage pet rock that Republicans have foisted on the program in a failed effort to show how competition could reduce Medicare costs" and "(c) miscellaneous reimbursement changes affecting hospitals and home health providers, among others, but again, not affecting benefits or the availability of services" work?

    How do you not affect benefits and availability of services when you reduce the reimbursement for them? Do the 15 wise men in the IPAB have some magic power to repeal the Law of Supply and Demand? Is there a reason to believe that the 15 members of the IPAB will some how succeed with central planning when that model for economic decisions has failed every time it's been tried?

  • Rob Nargi on August 15, 2012 3:41 PM:

    Should we believe you, Sarah Kliff, or the very own actuaries and trustees of Medicare? You go read this and I'll await your answer. M-kay thanks...

    http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/index.html

  • Anonymous on August 15, 2012 3:59 PM:

    Sorry Ed, " A rose by any other name " A CUT is a CUT. Obama can't sugar coat it or us "controlled messaging"(it's more like contrived messaging) as you are trying to do. A spade is a spade. I remember when this debate about ObamaCAre was going on...it was very clear that they CUT over 500 Billion Dollars to pay for their new massive entitlement program and then they tried to mislead eveyone by double counting the so-called savings. Even the CBO said as much. RAviging Medicare Advantage hurts thousands of Seniors who rely on that program. Cutting reimbursement( when reimbursement is already low) to providers who care for Seniors will shut down many clinics across the country and hurt access to care for seniors. Obama even said himself in an interview, he would veto any attempt to undo these CUTS to Medicare. Obama and friends are LYING to Seniors and eveyone else. One good thing about this discussion about Medicare. ......it gets us taking about the atrocities of ObamaCare

  • JSMN on August 15, 2012 4:02 PM:

    In this community, the vast majority of older population carry a Medicare Advantage product. Pure traditional Medicare is a small minority of coverage for older members of this community. When the $716 B is removed from the Advantage program and these policies are no longer options for people here, the coverage is going to shift to traditional Medicare. Since the amount of money available to traditional Medicare for care delivered is not incrteased by $716B, it follows that greatly increased demand for services will need to be paid by the same amount of funds available. How does the author possibly think this will not lead to rationing of services?

    As an administrator of speacialty medical practices, I know we are already planning on the potential to significantly reduce the availability of services as a result of significantly reduced reduced reimbursement. We simply can't afford to deliver services to an expanded patient population when reimbursement for those services is below what it costs to provide the care. No sane buisness expecting to remain in operation can. Unfortunately the author appears to number among the group of individuals who keep parroting the refrain that ObamaCare promises all these free services and must be retained. The problem comes when he can't conceive of the fact that someone needs to pay for the "free services".

  • chris on August 15, 2012 4:06 PM:

    in reply to Merrill Goozner ...

    so if you cut payments to providers you expect no reduction in services??? Talk about magic... Obama's own Medicare actuaries estimated last year that the ACA $700 billion cut to medicare will result in a 15% loss of providers who will become unprofitable within the 10 years. In addition, more people will then have to be dumped onto the exchanges, thereby increasing the costs of the program and further increasing the deficit. Read ALL the facts some time, you might find it enlightening!

  • Mayor_of_Melonville on August 15, 2012 4:08 PM:

    Ed,who's right here? Read the exact opposite view from National Review.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/314077/democrats-growing-medicare-dilemma-yuval-levin

  • Spence on August 15, 2012 4:11 PM:

    So my President's cuts in the Medicare are harmless. Hmmmm. Why reduce the increase $700+ billion, he should have cut $2trillion. After all it’s a harmless right?

  • pencarrow on August 15, 2012 4:15 PM:

    Explain please how taking away Medicare Advantage plans from recipients that rely on these programs should not be considered "taking away benefits"?

  • Tom Genin on August 15, 2012 4:17 PM:

    Sorry, you lost me at "lower reimbursement rates for hospitals, which supported this change." No Hospital (which isn't a kool-aid drinkin' Obama supporter) Supports lower fees for their service. Seeing as Doctors already refuse to take Medicare NOW because of losing money on the fees, lower fees is only going to make that worse.

    You have Cost, Quality & Service in anything. $716 Billion less pay, equals $716 Billion less in Quality & Service. Pray for Obamatopia all you will, reality doesn't care about your delusions.

  • HTuttle on August 15, 2012 4:38 PM:

    BS! They are cuts deceptively hidden in cost offsets elsewhere which will inevitably result in reduced services to the needy. Typical Obama flimflam con-gamery.

  • HTuttle on August 15, 2012 4:41 PM:

    I am SO going to do a Zakaria on some comments for this article!

  • terry kivlan on August 15, 2012 4:50 PM:

    So Medicare Advantage is a "pet rock," eh. Tell that to the program's eleven million enrollees.

  • tv22 on August 15, 2012 5:06 PM:

    This is such a pinata!

    (a) reduced subsidies for the grossly expensive Medicare Advantage - so who makes up the differences if the subsidy goes away. Um, Seniors of course.

    (b) lower reimbursement rates for hospitals - so seniors will have to travel to find hospitals who may or may not treat them. Why treat customers who don't pay costs?

    (c) miscellaneous reimbursement changes affecting hospitals and home health providers, among others, but again, not affecting benefits or the availability of services. - if you affect home health providers you are affecting seniors, they'll have to pay out of pocket for more coverage. You didn't even mention the medical device tax!

    It's hilarious how libs think this stuff will just happen!

  • Anthony Juan Bautista on August 15, 2012 5:28 PM:

    Hey Ed, even Obama admits they are cuts. This video is worth 1,000 of your equivocal words:

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/president-obama-in-2009-pledged-to-veto-attempts-to-undo-medicare-cuts/

  • Bill Dillard on August 15, 2012 5:38 PM:

    Mr. Kilgore is right. Obamacare doesn't cut benefits. It just takes away money that would otherwise go to pay for those benefits....so it is now even less sustainable than it was before. Glad we got that clarified.

  • Fred on August 15, 2012 6:19 PM:

    TAPPER: Are you willing to pledge that whatever cuts in Medicare are being made to fund health insurance, one third of it, that you will veto anything that tries to undo that?

    OBAMA: Yes. I actually have said that it is important for us to make sure this thing is deficit neutral, without tricks. I said I wouldn’t sign a bill that didn’t meet that criteria.

    What is unclear here?

  • Garthe Young on August 15, 2012 6:24 PM:

    Is is a bit difficult to accept the idea that billions can be cut from reimbursements to healthcare providers (hospitals and others) without having a negative impact on those of us on Medicare. If you look at your Medicare bill you see that Medicare already reimburses hospitals and doctors significantly less than what the bill shows as the charges for those services. The Obama Administration argues that they are doing things that will reduce cost, but it does not appear to me these are significant. Claiming you are not reducing "benefits" while reducing the capacity for services is doublespeak. We are not that dumb.

  • Bob from Clovis on August 15, 2012 6:32 PM:

    TAPPER: “One of the concerns about health care and how you pay for it — one third of the funding comes from cuts to Medicare.”
    BARACK OBAMA: “Right.”

    TAPPER: “A lot of times, as you know, what happens in Congress is somebody will do something bold and then Congress, close to election season, will undo it.”

    OBAMA: “Right.”

    TAPPER: “You saw that with the ‘doc fix’.”

    OBAMA: “Right.”

    TAPPER: “Are you willing to pledge that whatever cuts in Medicare are being made to fund health insurance, one third of it, that you will veto anything that tries to undo that?”

    OBAMA: “Yes. I actually have said that it is important for us to make sure this thing is deficit neutral, without tricks. I said I wouldn’t sign a bill that didn’t meet that criteria.”

  • allouchsit on August 15, 2012 6:33 PM:

    Here is Obama admitting that 1/3 of the funding for Obamacare comes from CUTS to Medicare. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5Ha7RNpn24

    This is the audio to Fred's text above.

  • Bob from CLovis on August 15, 2012 6:39 PM:

    So if President Obama accepts that they are "cuts" in his interview with Jake Tapper during the actual time the health care bill was being passed, why can't the rest of you? The truth hurts.

  • Anonymous on August 15, 2012 7:02 PM:

    Another lie that Ed is passing along is the notion that Ryan's plan did the same thing. On page 54 of Ryan's plan is this paragraph...

    "This budget ends the raid on the Medicare trust fund that began with passage of the new health care law last year. It ensures that any potential savings in current law would go to shore up Medicare, not to pay for new entitlements. In addition to repealing the health care law’s new rationing board and its unfunded long-term care entitlement, this budget stabilizes plan choices for current seniors."

  • JohnLeeHooker on August 15, 2012 7:17 PM:

    "At WaPo’s Wonkblog this morning, Sarah Kliff usefully deconstructs the issue, noting that the famous $716 billion does not involve any benefit cuts..."

    well, ed, you're either stupid or lying. Let's think a bit: IF govt cuts the reimbursement rate to MD's and hospitals, etc for a particular service, what do you think MD's and hospitals will do?

    THEY WILL EXIT THE MARKET FOR THAT SERVICE OR GO BANKRUPT providing that service

    You really are as dumb as you seem and demonstrate the kind of understanding of economics that typify dims/libs/progs - i.e. NO UNDERSTAND.

  • wtstan on August 15, 2012 8:00 PM:

    You may want to read an article that actually tells the truth about the Medicare issue. And keep this thought in mind: Obama is the only person who has past a bill that cuts Medicare!!!

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/314077/democrats-growing-medicare-dilemma-yuval-levin

  • Doug on August 15, 2012 8:06 PM:

    Methinks the Democrats must have struck a nerve with this Medicare brouhaha. What with all the trolls showing up and denying reality by demonstrating their inability to read.
    Or perhaps they ARE that dumb and don't know the difference between cuts in expenditures and cuts in benefits, what with being trolls and all...
    Go Obama/Biden!

  • GeorgiaPeachie on August 15, 2012 8:06 PM:

    Yes, obamacare cuts Medicare beginning in 2013. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recent number of $716 Billion. The money you give each week in your paycheck will be taken and given to obmacare and WILL NOT be used for Medicare...even though it is being taken in your paycheck "marked" for your Medicare funds. The $716 Billion is over 10 years...and will be affecting those ALREADY IN MEDICARE.

    To try to say that cutting $260 Billion from hospitals for the care of the Elderly...$156 Billion from Medicare Advantage depended upon by the Elderly...$66 Billion cuts to Nursing care for the Elderly...$33 Billion cuts in home services for the Elderly isn't going to affect anyone is a BALD FACE LIE.

    Politics is one thing. Lying about Medicare when so many Elderly DEPEND on this for their very existance is evil and cruel. This is NOT about Repubs and Dems. This is about saving Medicare while not making the people who are CURRENTLY ON IT or close to on it, be harmed.

    http://blog.heritage.org/2012/08/01/obamacare-robs-medicare-of-716-billion-to-fund-itself/

  • Charles Odonnell on August 15, 2012 9:42 PM:

    These Medicare savings of Obama and his team 700 billion of projected savings. This the same Obama and boys and girls who projected Obamacare cost of 900 billion that now has a cost of 2.7 Trillion! Yeah those Repubs don't know what they aretalking about. We Obamabots got these numbers nailed. Duh!

  • Ryan on August 15, 2012 9:52 PM:

    Ed, you've completely missed the boat on this one. The point is not that the AFA cuts current benefits to seniors, because it obviously doesn't, as you've pointed out. The point is that the AFA pulls funds out of the Medicare trust fund, depleting the reservoir that we will need to pay future retiree benefits. Of course it does not affect the benefits of seniors in the short term--no one has suggested that it does. But, like any good Keynesian, the President doesn't seem to care about what will happen in the long run, and apparently neither do you. I'm 27, so I don't have that luxury. Cutting reimbursement rates to hospitals only depletes the number of physicians willing to take medicare patients and forces those that do to charge the rest of us a lot more money to make up the difference. In what fantasy land is it a good idea to raid $716 billion from a fund that's barely solvent and attempt to pay for it by taking actions that only exacerbate the causes of its insolvency?

    I suppose it does on Planet Keynes, because in the long run, you'll all be dead, and my generation will stuck with the tab. Thanks for caring so much, by the way.

  • Dean Robichaux on August 15, 2012 11:10 PM:

    Looks like all the liberals are in a panic. They are really putting up the smokescreens to try to cover this obvious truth. Calling Romney a liar? What a freaking joke. Fact: Obama cutting the 716 billion in Medicare is LAW that the President signed and when asked said he would veto anything Congress put forth to change it. Ryan's PLAN ( which is not LAW) doesn't affect anyone over 55. Liberals, you and the President are big losers on this one.

  • David on August 16, 2012 2:04 AM:

    Romney is referring to the accounting movement from the Medicare government fund to the other funds within government. He never stated that there were cuts in payments from the fund to pay enrollee medical expenses, but in effect that is what will happen when the fund zeros out in a decade or there about. All the transfer accomplishes is putting that fateful day 716 billion closer than it otherwise would be. But then Mr. Kilgore already knew that.

  • DJM on August 16, 2012 4:22 AM:

    "noting that the famous $716 billion does not involve any benefit cuts, and is composed roughly in thirds of (a) reduced subsidies for the grossly expensive Medicare Advantage".

    What a bunch of crock ! You people researching this issue ought to quit basing this stupid statement of a minority position. Yes, in Florida a few plans may offer a few luxuries. The fact is that Medicare only covers 80% and I as a Medicare recipient in a rural area it's a must to cover the rest with an Advantage Plan. Most Doctor's in Rural areas can't make ends meet on solely Medicare. An Advantage Plan is a must or you don't get medical service. Just how many in Public Sector with Cadillac Health Plans have co-pays and are expected to pay 20%. You people would be screaming over terms like that. Not only do I pay the Medicare Premiums, I pay Advantage Premiums that cost as much as MediCare.

    Obama saw a chance to fund his Health Care Plan on the backs of Seniors. Taking $700 Billion from Medicare is clear that it's the Dems who are gutting it.

  • joel H. Townsend on August 16, 2012 6:27 AM:


    Nice try, Ed. It's still a cut. Face it this was a bone-head move by you liberals. You are going to pay big time. How can you demagog Ryan's proposal as successfully as you expected? You can't.

  • Michael McDonald on August 16, 2012 6:53 AM:

    It is obviously foolish to argue that Obama's cuts to Medicare are somehow not cuts to benefits. There are two main differences between the Ryan and Obama approaches to Medicare change. First, Ryan admits he is changing Medicare, while Obama dishonestly denies this. Secondly, Ryan relies on consumer choice and market principles to effect dynamic positive, change while Obama moves toward a system of total government control, the "single payer" system he and his supporters have always really wanted.

  • jml on August 16, 2012 8:23 AM:

    This partisan drivel has little to no merit. It is impossible to decouple rate cuts to hospitals and other providers with the availability of services. A freshman in econ 101 learns on the first day that lower price = lower supply, which is exactly what happens when physicians/hospitals/etc. get rate cuts. You either wait longer, or the number of patients accepted is capped. Perfectly predictable 100% of the time. Moreover, the "grossly expensive" MA plans you talk about are preferred because - GO FIGURE!- people prefer to deal with a commercial enterprise than the federal government.

  • NJCalling on August 16, 2012 3:17 PM:

    Interesting perspective. When Obamacare was passed by the Dems and Obama a couple of years ago, they took what was then $500B from Medicare to fund Obamacare. Why, because Obama needed to be able to claim that Obamacare did not increase the overall budget deficit. This was no secret and ironically Congressman Ryan in that famous Blair House get together with the President pointed this out. Now, one can suggest that taking $500B, which has now grown to $716B, from a program with what was at the time a $40T unfunded liability to fund another program so you can claim that program is revenue neutral is shall we say...creative. What do you call it two years later when Obama, "mainstream reporters, author's such as Ed Kilgore suggest it never happened...fantasy?

  • NJCalling on August 16, 2012 3:18 PM:

    Interesting perspective. When Obamacare was passed by the Dems and Obama a couple of years ago, they took what was then $500B from Medicare to fund Obamacare. Why, because Obama needed to be able to claim that Obamacare did not increase the overall budget deficit. This was no secret and ironically Congressman Ryan in that famous Blair House get together with the President pointed this out. Now, one can suggest that taking $500B, which has now grown to $716B, from a program with what was at the time a $40T unfunded liability to fund another program so you can claim that program is revenue neutral is shall we say...creative. What do you call it two years later when Obama, "mainstream reporters, author's such as Ed Kilgore suggest it never happened...fantasy?