Dems on the defensive after report on Medicare cuts

Republicans have been busy using the Congressional Budget Office for harvesting ammunition against the Democratic health care reform plan, but so far it's not having much of an impact as Democrats try to push through their latest plan in the Senate Finance Committee.

The GOP Wednesday touted the revelation made by CBO Director Doug Elmendorf that cuts to Medicare Advantage would reduce benefits, despite promises to the contrary by the Obama Administration.

Later in the day, Republicans dug into a letter sent by the CBO to Democrats letting them know that the taxes they plan to impose on the insurance companies will, in fact, be passed along to policy holders to the tune of about 1 percent of premiums.
“These are new taxes,” Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “The premiums under the new bill, the new exchange, would be higher than what you're paying today.”

But the data is having little impact at the bill markup, where Senators rejected by a vote of 9-14 an amendment by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that would have restored $113 billion in Medicare Advantage cuts if the CBO finds that seniors lose benefits.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., pointed out that there would be no cuts to basic Medicare and that Medicare Advantage, which provides benefits beyond basic Medicare, was much more costly and provided uneven coverage.

“I think it's very important that we clearly indicate that in fact we are not cutting Medicare services for seniors,” Stabenow said. “I know there's a lot of political points in trying to scare seniors as we go forward on this bill, but it's not true.”

The committee also rejected by a vote of 12-11 a provision that would have delayed committee action on the bill until a formal estimate on cost could be provided to the CBO and then posted publicly for 72 hours.

Just Posted

Central Subway project projected to run $55 million over budget

San Francisco’s $1.6 billion Central Subway is roughly $55 million in the… Continue reading

HUD secretary calls for increased deregulation after tour of Potrero Hill public housing

Carson calls for greater ‘cooperation’ between local, federal officials but offers no additional funds

Suspect in high-profile waterfront attack ordered to stand trial

Judge adds charge against Austin James Vincent for alleged criminal threats

SF increases public funding to help those running for mayor, supervisor

Those running for the Board of Supervisors or mayor will have access… Continue reading

SF supervisors call on health department to ‘pause’ planned relocation of mental health patients

Tensions high as protest by over closure of long-term beds shuts down Health Commission meeting

Most Read