Well whaddaya know: Turns out that after watching Republicans throw a fit about the defense spending reductions called by the sequestration process in the wake of the Super Committee's failure, Democrats have decided that they don't want to see Medicare spending touched either. Via The Hill:
While some Republicans are taking heat for seeking to mitigate $600 billion in sequestration cuts to the Defense Department, a handful of House Democrats this week put forward their own proposal to spare Medicare from spending cuts triggered by the August debt deal.
Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY) introduced H.R. 3519, along with six other House Democrats, in a bid to exempt Medicare. Towns said Wednesday that hospitals would not be able to cope with reduced Medicare reimbursements required under the sequestration cuts required under the Budget Control Act.
No surprises here; Republicans have practically taken out billboards advertising their readiness to undo the defense spending reductions, and Democrats were never likely to accept that without attempting to protect their own favorite programs. I would say it's cut for cut, but as usual we're not talking about actual reductions in spending. So it's reduction-in-planned-spending for reduction-in-planned-spending, and if Republicans try to get our of their side of the deal, Democrats are sure to follow.
Republican opposition to the defense spending reductions is providing a convenient they-did-it-first excuse. But what's even better is that Democrats are blaming ObamaCare for making this new round of planned spending reductions just too dang much:
"Hospitals in New York are already slated to experience $15 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts under the Affordable Care Act over the next ten years," Towns said. "If sequestration occurs, hospitals will lose another $2.6 billion — or over $116 million in my district alone."
...The law specifies that Medicare can be cut no more than 2 percent for a fiscal year, a cut of about $123 billion over a decade. However, Towns's bill would change that to say there can be no reduction at all for Medicare.
Towns's bill is the first formal proposal for getting around the sequestration cuts, and its introduction again raises the question of whether Democrats and Republicans will stick to the prescription in the Budget Control Act.
Here's an illustration of the austerity armeggedon we'd see if the sequestration process went through as called for:
We just can't handle those kind of cuts!