Budget Axe Ready to Strike Social Security, Medicare
as President Makes Appeal to GOP
Reports say Obama in agreement on plan reducing
Social Security COLA for seniors, cutting $400 billion from Medicare
over 10 years
By Tucker Sutherland, Editor
5, 2013 – For more than a week there has been a steady stream of rumors,
speculation and news leaks indicating White House and Republican
negotiators are near agreement on significant changes to Medicare and
Social Security aimed at reducing the government’s cost. Reports from
major newspapers this morning say the Obama budget will be out next week
and it will have cuts to Social Security and Medicare in hopes of
winning Republican support.
The lead paragraph by reporter Jackie Calmes in the
The New York Times this
morning says, “President Obama next week will take the political risk of
formally proposing cuts to
in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to
compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term
deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say.
Big Social Security Cut will be in COLA
CNN says, “For Social
Security, Obama plans to propose a switch to a key Republican request
called ‘chained CPI,’ which is an inflation formula.”
Using this chained CPI to measure inflation and
calculate cost-of-living increases for senior citizens will lower the
COLA increases and save the government money over time. Many complain,
however, it will sink many seniors further into poverty.
GOP’S Ryan presents ‘austere budget proposal that
looks a lot like one they approved last year that Democrats quickly
dismissed. Republicans revived plans to overhaul Medicare, slash the
social safety net for the poor and bolster defense — all while lowering
corporate and individual tax rates to no more than 25%’
The chained CPI has been rejected in the Senate and
strongly opposed by AARP and other advocates for older Americans.
AARP Senior Vice President of
Government Affairs Joyce A. Rogers said, "Reducing the cost-of-living
adjustment in this manner would harm seniors, the majority of whom rely
on their Social Security benefit as the foundation of their retirement
income, and whose health care expenses already outpace inflation. It
would hurt veterans who have already sacrificed so much for this
“It would hit women especially hard
because they typically live longer and rely more heavily on Social
Security. And because the chained CPI would cut benefits more with every
passing year, people with disabilities – who often rely on Social
Security starting at a younger age and therefore for many more years –
would suffer from especially deep cuts in benefits over time.”
“The concept of merging the deductibles for
Medicare Part A insurance, which covers hospital stays, and Part B,
which covers doctors' services, is one of the few ideas that appeals to
both parties. Seniors who have a serious illness could pay less, but for
most seniors, the net effect would be an increase in their out-of-pocket
expenses,” they report.
“Senior House GOP aides said it was among the
deficit-reduction options the White House and Republicans have discussed
in the past. They also said President
indicated he was open to the idea when he met recently with House
Republicans on Capitol Hill.”
Seniors to Pay Share of Home Care
The New York Times
also reported last week that President Obama “proposed that
beneficiaries pay something for home health care, which is among
Medicare’s fastest-growing and most fraud-prone expenses; people just
released from the hospital would be exempted.”
The Times says, “Glenn M. Hackbarth, chairman of
the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, a group of nonpartisan experts
that advises Congress, said a combined deductible could increase costs
for those who use only doctor and outpatient services — a majority of
beneficiaries in any year. It could reduce costs, he said, for the
roughly 20 percent who require hospitalization.”
CNN says the President’s plan will cut Medicare
spending by $400 billion over 10 years.
Medicaid Appears Safe
President Barack Obama's budget next week will
steer clear of major cuts to Medicaid, including tens of billions in
reductions to the health care plan for the poor that the administration
had proposed only last year, according to
Big cuts in the federal-state program wouldn’t go
over too well at a time that Health and Human Services Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius is wooing financially skittish Republican governors to
expand Medicaid coverage to millions who now are uninsured, reports AP.
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