Obama Says Nobody's Talking About Slashing Medicare Benefits, But Here We Are, Talking About Slashing Medicare Benefits


Remember when President Obama tried to reassure seniors worried about potential health benefit cuts by claiming that "nobody is talking about reducing Medicare benefits"? If not, here's a reminder:

Well, now someone's talking about slashing Medicare benefits—and that someone is not just any outside organization but the government's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Here's how the Post summarizes the key finding in the center's new report:

A plan to slash more than $500 billion from future Medicare spending—one of the biggest sources of funding for President Obama's proposed overhaul of the nation's health-care system—would sharply reduce benefits for some senior citizens and could jeopardize access to care for millions of others, according to a government evaluation released Saturday.

The report, requested by House Republicans, found that Medicare cuts contained in the health package approved by the House on Nov. 7 are likely to prove so costly to hospitals and nursing homes that they could stop taking Medicare altogether.

Now, I think we ought to resist the idea that Medicare should be untouchable, and I think Republicans (who ordered the report, presumably expecting to find this outcome) have done themselves a disservice by pushing that notion. But I also think it's pretty disingenuous to sell a plan based on the idea that you can make massive cuts to the program without substantially altering or reducing benefits in ways that beneficiaries won't like.

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  1. But what about all those savings by eliminating fraud and abuse? And don’t we need to pass this bill so that we can finally root out all the waste?

    1. You forgot to mention the part about saving the economy form deeper recession.

      1. Mum: But you’ve not been to school all week, son.
        Alex: Got to rest, Mum. Got to get fit. Otherwise I’m liable to miss a lot more school.

  2. Shocking that cutting $500B from a program might affect the level of services it provides. Who would have thunk?

    1. Not so fast. As a libertarian, I believe there are a lot of government programs from which you could cut $500 billion, and no american citizen would ever even notice.

  3. Yep, I am old enough to remember a time when most Republicans were against Medicare.

    This exercise shows why divided Government is good. The Republicans will use Medicare as a tool to keep the Democrats from what they want, not that they fundamentally disagree with free HealthCare for all.

  4. They’re planning to cut $500B in Medicare funding, and still the so-called reform plan is going to cost $1.2 Trillion + ? Insane.

    1. And remember that $1.2 trillion is an estimate. Medicare turned out to cost something like 900% of the original estimate.

      1. Only 900%, when did feds become so efficient?

  5. Now, I think we ought to resist the idea that Medicare should be untouchable

    We should resist the idea that Medicare, or any other unconstitutional government-run health care scheme, should exist at all.

    Enumerated powers and all that …

  6. Remember, folks – talking about slashing medicare is just a smoke screen to entice people into believing that we need “Health Care” reform (i.e. socialized medicine). The reason is that the Ponzi scheme that is Medicare no longer works, because the base is so narrow, so the government is looking into making the base bigger, and By God! if it is not going to make it bigger, by brute force if necessary.

  7. Obama = lying liar who lies like a shit-guzzling fuckbag.

    1. I’m disagreeing with you, but what exactly is a fuckbag?

      1. NOT, not disagreeing…

        1. It’s a bag full of fucks. Duh.

  8. ? This isn’t Obama’s fault; he has to slash Medicare to appease the Radical Right Wing, who otherwise would hijack his health care bill and let the uninsured starve in the streets. Those heartless bastards! ?

  9. Remember all the screams of Democrats about the evil Republicans who wanted to “cut” Medicare, when all they wanted to do was (e.g.) increase spending by 4% instead of 6%?

  10. My understanding is that medicare is cutting their reimbursement about 5% for 2010

  11. I’m getting tired of the healthcare debate. By now, anyone with half a brain in their head can understand the concept of “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Even the Democrats and Obama can’t magically create a healthcare bill that’s going to give people something for nothing.

    So what happens if the Senate doesn’t pass the bill? How long is this mess going to continue?

    I’m hoping libertarian law firms are already getting their ducks in a row to oppose the healthcare bill on the grounds that it’s unconstitutional. Just in case it does pass the Senate.

    We might as well exhaust all the civil means of opposition.

    1. I’m tired of hearing about it too.

      But I’m content letting them go on debating — as long as that’s what they do.

      Who knows what they’ll come up with to replace it…..

  12. Currently Medicare is scheduled to cut physician reimbursement by 21% effective 01/01/2010. That’s under the previous Medicare plan to control costs, and represents four years of deferred cuts.

    The fact that they deferred cuts for four years tells you something about the likelihood that real cost controls will occur under the new plan.

    If these kinds of cost controls actually go into effect, will physicians limit their Medicare practices? You bet your ass.

    Will hospitals drop out of Medicare? Probably not in any numbers, as the huge fixed cost structure of hospitals means any payer that pays more than marginal cost is better than an empty bed, even if the payment is below cost.

    However, in order to stay open, hospitals will most definitely have to reduce investment, maintenance, and services in general.

  13. There is absolutely no reason to think price controls will reduce supply. It’s never happened before.

    1. That thinking is racist.

  14. Goddamn Republicans!!!

  15. But guys, they are going to plan all of the billions of health care decisions in this country centrally, not in Bumfuck, Alaska or a bunch of middle-managers scattered around the country.

    It’ll be nothing but Top Men all located within one facility for maximum efficiency of planning. And this won’t just be any kind of planning, but the top shelf kind of planning you only get from government officials. You can be assurred that they will have nothing less than the best office furnishings, cut from the finest of rain forest woods, the highest paid people they can find, with *extra* support staff for any emergencies or unexpected pandemics and most of all, top-notch catering, once only the province of Saudi Princes.

    With that kind of support, you just know that nothing will go wrong.

    1. “It’ll be nothing but Top Men all located within one facility for maximum efficiency of planning.”

      Top Men… Top. Men.


    2. Top Men…

      I think I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark when I was 8. It’s probably when I first learned to distrust the government.

      1. That was my favorite takeaway line from the movie. I use it here in the office all the time. Whenever someone asks who’s dumbass idea a particular plan was, or who’s planning a particularly dumbass “big idea”, I always respond “Top men”.

  16. OK, listen carefully. I said, “Nobody is talking about slashing Medicare benefits.” Got that? I said “IS”: “IS talking.” I didn’t say “WILL EVER be talking.” So stop with the lies about me lying. Or we’ll have to deal with you.

    1. Depends what the definition of ‘is’ is.

    2. “Here’s a guarantee that I’ve made.”

      I have made this guarantee to my wife and close friends. It has nothing to do with my plan for most Americans.

      Continuing to study Obamaese …

  17. Go ahead, cut medicare for all I give a shit. The problem is they are replacing it with something else.

  18. They’re replacing medicare with free healthcare. Duh.

  19. What I don’t understand is why AARP is supporting the bill. Aren’t they supposed to represent the interests of seniors?

    1. AARP is a racket.

      1. I’ll say.

    2. AARP is fundamentally a vendor of services, mainly insurance services. You can be sure the “insurance reform” being bruited about will be fabulously profitable for them in some way.

      1. That was my thought as well. They’ll get their pound of flesh cut, one way or another.

        One thing you can say about AARP: they’re craven, but they aren’t stupids.

  20. I’m hoping libertarian law firms are already getting their ducks in a row to oppose the healthcare bill on the grounds that it’s unconstitutional.

    Are you serious? Are you serious?

  21. The brick-wall background in that video makes me wonder: Is the President doing standup at The Improv?

    Is there anything he can’t do?

    1. Yes, and Whose Line is it Anyway? already awarded him with the win for the day and he gets to read the credits in any style Drew chooses.

  22. While some Medicare benefits are certain to be cut and increases seen in deductible and out-of-pocket costs, I think there will be sufficient options to meet the needs and budget of Medicare recipients. For example, if you use the search tool at PlanPrescriber.com to find Medicare plans in your area, there are plenty of plans available. The key is to take some time to compare plans to find the one that is best for you.

  23. I personally know a physician who charges for patient visits in facilities who at times, is not even there. He did an h &p on one of the patients that had been laying dead for 3 hours–I leaned over and asked him how the patient was today, and he said “seems to be doin pretty good”. I then told him it might be a good idea to peek in again. This Doc has been repeatedly reported to medicare for fraud, with no result. When they get their system right and fraud cannot occur in this manner-then we can discuss expanding monies set aside for medicare. If they don’t care, nobody is going to bother reporting.

  24. Pertaining to the subject matter, we have a plausible answer for you with us at Plan Medicare, where you may receive answers you have been searching for like finding the correct supplemental medicare insurance.

    Medical insurance shouldn’t be a burden or an uncertainty due to age restrictions. Visit us at http://www.planmedicare.com to see why Planmedicare is the right choice to be your medical insurance provider.

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