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December 03, 2012 12:37 PM Just Forget Everything That’s Been Said for the Last Year

By Aaron Carroll

This has been the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging. I hope you all missed me terribly.

I still followed some news when I was away. I’ve been waiting for this:

During the campaign, candidate Romney repeatedly hammered President Obama for cutting $716 billion from Medicare as part of his signature healthcare law. Romney pledged to repeal those cuts in a break from his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Ryan, the House Budget Committee Chairman, had preserved Obama’s Medicare cuts in two consecutive budget proposals that repealed the rest of the Affordable Care Act. Ryan is now back at work crafting his next budget, and Republicans on his committee say the $716 billion in Medicare cuts will likely survive.
Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) said the $716 billion cut is part of the committee’s over-arching plan to save and reform Medicare. He said he doesn’t expect Ryan to back away from any part of that goal just because Romney was on a different page.

Ah, yes. Remember when this was pitched as President Obama “robbing Medicare” and “slashing Medicare”? Remember when there was a rallying cry to fight so very, very hard to make sure those $716 billion in cuts never happens No? I don’t blame you. It was so long ago.

Look, I welcome this change of heart. If all cuts to future Medicare spending are considered verboten then we might as well give up. For the record, here’s how Obamacare cuts future Medicare spending. ThinkProgress has made an amazing chart to show how the administration has proposed to add to that:


Hopefully we’ll be hearing soon how the Republicans plan to cut future Medicare spending. I’d so much rather have a debate as to how to cut future health care spending than over whether we should.

[Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]

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Aaron Carroll ,MD, is an associate professor of Pediatrics and the associate director of Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine.