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.