Dems Double-Down on Plan to Bankrupt Medicare

May 23, 2011

Democrats Plan Benefit Cuts, Tax Increases, and a Bureaucrat Board to Manage Medicare’s Future


Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, today doubled-down on the Democrat plan to bankrupt Medicare:


VAN HOLLEN SAYS OBAMACARE IS THE DEMOCRAT MEDICARE PLAN:“Number one, the president has put a plan on the table.  And let’s remember that the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare reform bill, had some significant Medicare reform.” (NBC’s “Meet the Press,” 5/22/2011)


However, a new report from the Obama-appointed trustees of Medicare punches a hole right through Van Hollen’s claims, The “reforms” Van Hollen brags about aren’t preserving and protecting Medicare. Medicare’s finances are getting worse, and even the latest forecasts may be too optimistic:


MEDICARE’S TRUST FUND WILL GO BANKRUPT IN 2024, FIVE YEARS EARLIER THAN FORECAST LAST YEAR: “Medicare’s trust fund will run dry in 2024, five years earlier than forecast just last year, and Social Security’s will be exhaused by 2036, adding fuel to the debate over cutting one or both programs to reduce annual budget deficits. (Richard Wolf, “Medicare, Social Security Money Running Out Faster,” USA Today, 5/13/2011)


THAT PROJECTION MAY BE “SUSPECT” AND MEDICARE MAY GO BANKRUPT EVEN SOONER: “The Medicare figures are suspect, because they rely on billions of dollars in savings projected under the health care law signed by President Obama last year. Those savings depend on many factors, such as cuts in payments to doctors that Congress habitually sidesteps, as well as improvements in doctors’ and hospitals’ productivity.” (Richard Wolf, “Medicare, Social Security Money Running Out Faster,” USA Today, 5/13/2011)


That leaves Medicare headed toward benefit cuts:


WILL PELOSI ACCEPT 17 PERCENT BENEFIT CUTS? “The long-range financial imbalance could be addressed in several different ways. In theory, the standard 2.90-percent payroll tax and the additional tax 0.9-percent tax on high-income earners could be immediately increased by the amount of the actuarial deficit to 3.69 percent, or expenditures could be reduced by a corresponding amount. Note, however, that these changes would require an immediate 24-percent increase in the tax rate or an immediate 17-percent reduction in expenditures.” (pp. 28-29, “2011 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds,”The Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds, 5/13/2011)


Even worse, Democrats also have a plan to empower a board of unelected bureaucrats to make arbitrary cuts to Medicare, endangering seniors’ access to care and threatening the doctor-patient relationship.


BOARD OF UNELECTED BUREAUCRATS TO MAKE HEALTHCARE DECISIONS:“That’s the job description for the 15 members of the Independent Payment Advisory Board — the new panel created by President Barack Obama’s health care law to come up with ways to cut Medicare spending if it grows too fast.”(David Nather, “Medicare Cost-Cutting Job Could Be Worst in DC,” Politico, 5/14/2011)