Gang of Six Proposes Cutting Spending on Federal Health Programs By $200 Billion. How? They'll Let You Know When They Figure It Out


If only congressional gangs were so colorful.

Yesterday, the so-called Gang of Six—a cadre of Republican and Democratic Senators working independently from the administration and Congressional leadership—released a proposal to reduce the projected federal deficit by $3.7 trillon over the next decade. According to The Washington Post, it "requires lawmakers in the coming months to cut agency spending, overhaul Social Security and Medicare, and rewrite the tax code to generate more than $1 trillion in fresh revenue." It's so…so…bipartisan. But maybe not in an entirely good way. 

In a nice overview of the plan, Cato's Dan Mitchell points out that, as usual, the headline deficit reduction figures don't represent real reductions from current spending levels; instead, they're cuts from projected growth. There are a few things to like about the plan, however, including its reduction of both the top personal and corporate tax rates and its obliteration of the CLASS Act. 

But many of the particulars are still vague, especially when it comes to health care. Despite what the Post suggests, there is no major overhaul of Medicare. The plan calls for $200 billion in overall health care savings, but from where? We don't yet know. As Politico's morning health policy report cautions, "the details are slim on just where the savings from Medicare and Medicaid will come from." We don't even know exactly how the cutbacks would be divided between the two health care programs, meaning one of the programs could end up shouldering a significantly larger share of the cuts than the other. 

So far, then, bipartisan agreement on the plan has only held together because of the lack of specificity behind it. But how long can that last? Whatever cuts are proposed are sure to be controversial. Progressive activists and House Democrats have already made it clear they're not interested in scaling back either of the big federal health programs—Medicare in particular—and they'll oppose most any cuts that get recommended. Meanwhile, as National Center for Policy Analysis Center President John Goodman points out, the most likely cuts to be identified are provider payment reductions, which are both historically tough to maintain and represent a further entrenchment of the federal government's long, not particularly successful history of attempts to set and control prices in the health care system. 

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  1. deficit reduction figures don’t represent real reductions from current spending levels; instead, they’re cuts from projected growth.

    So the solution to the deficit is to increase the size of projected spending growth, then make minor reductions to those projections. Problem solved!

    1. That’s exactly what I did. And my boss was very agreeable. He said he would make sure that I made enough money to meet my increased/decreased needs in the next 10 years.

  2. I would actually love to see a street fight between the parties in Congress. Last group standing gets to do whatever they want.

    1. “Bricks, bats, axes, knives… pistols?”

      “No pistols.”

      1. Flamethrowers will do.

          1. 1 megaton and under.

      2. I killed a guy with a trident.

  3. I hate bipartisan senate groups.

    1. Basically, I hate people.

      1. Of course you do. You’re a libertarian.

        1. When people constantly live down to your expectations, you can either laugh at them, or hate them.

          I choose to do both.

    2. Nothing sends a chill down my spine like the words “bipartisan legislation”. They might as well call it “full retard legislation”.

  4. I found it amusing the Gang of Six proposed the cut; the only thing they rabbeted was their credibility

  5. $200 billion? Those wankers probably spend more than that on stationary.

    These are people we need to have running our lives?

  6. The libertarian gang of six looks much more dignified.

    1. They’re wearing tophats. They must be successful.

    2. Nope, not them. No monocles.

  7. Careful, Peter. If your wife finds out that you’re advocating real spending cuts, ones that actually happen this year, she might lump you in with us crazies fundamentalists out here on the intertubes.

    1. I’m fairly certain that the disconnect between Suderman and McArdle on spending is just part of their foreplay.

      1. eeeeeewwwww!

  8. “Progressive activists and House Democrats…”

    Who are also known as Communist traitors to the country.

  9. Spending cuts kill black people in Harlem and children in Los Angeles — why do you hate these minorities?

    1. Well according to liberalism, those people were never “real americans”, in the sense that they never had the same freedoms and opportunities others did, so, since they are foreignors what is the problem?

  10. Wake me up when a gang of more than two proposes a plan that eliminates the federal deficit.

    1. Who are you, Rip Van Never?

  11. Is this just like the Gang of Four? If so, who is Mao in all of this?

  12. Swine. Lackwit bastards.

  13. It’s just really depressing.

    On the one hand, the Gang of Six at the only people who are even daring to suggest cuts to Medicare and Social Security. But they’re too cowardly to say more.

    It’s not much better than the House Republicans plan, which simply INISTS cut will be made. Because they have to.

    Nobody dares propose real reform to entitlement programs.

    Here’s a couple of proposals.
    #1. Lifetime limits on medicare/medicaid expenditures.
    #2. High deductibles. First $5,000 annual expense is out of pocket.

    1. #3. No childbirths on Medicaid; no Medicaid coverage for children after the 1st child.

      Corollary, #3a. If your first child is born with FAS or otherwise fuctup on drugs, guess what: you don’t get Medicaid coverage for that one, either.

      Corollary, #3b. Guess what: if you’re claiming “disability” but it seems your disability does not prevent you from having sex, getting knocked up, and grunting out more bebbehs, you are not disabled. Here’s your childbirth bill; please pay at the front desk on your way out.

      Proof of sterilization or active birth control should be required for any Medicaid, welfare, WIC, or Section 8 assistance.

      Anybody who feels the need to expand their family size on the public’s dime thereafter can enlist in the military.

      1. How about we take away the parent’s medical coverage, but not the child’s?

  14. Lifetime limits on medicare/medicaid expenditures.


    1. Yeah, pulling the plug is never going to be an easy sell.

      Unfortunately, we live in an era where the limits aren’t technical. We can keep people alive on heart and lung machines and with feeding tubes, even if they are brain dead.

      The limits are financial.
      Resoruces are finite, who knew?

  15. Is this movie “Gangs of NYC” any good? It’s instantly available on netflix but wondering if its worth budgeting the time for.

  16. Is this movie “Gangs of NYC” any good? It’s instantly available on netflix but wondering if its worth budgeting the time for.

    If you like moronic, deranged, self-indulgent directorial masturbation, by all means, rent it.

    In my estimation, that was the second-worst movie ever made (right behind Starship Troopers).

    1. That good, huh? What about Daniel Day-Lewis’ mustache?

      1. all the parts that don’t involve Leo Dicapprio & Cameron Diaz talkin’ dumb & actin’ stupid are actually pretty good…’course those dumb parts are like half the long-ass movie, so…

    2. Granted Starship Troopers is one of the worst, but Battlefield Earth is far, far worse than it & Gangs of NY.

  17. As for the Gang of Six, they sound like somebody desperately trying to come up with a line of bullshit which will get them out of an intervention.

    “Yes, yes, I know it’s hurting me. I want to stop. Seriously. I’m going to straighten myself out, but there’s so much going on right now, it’s just going to take me a while. I’m going to turn my life around. And thanks so much for caring about me.”

  18. I can’t wait until August 3

  19. What about Daniel Day-Lewis’ mustache?

    You call that a mustache?

    1. Well, it’s not the Selleck, but it’s more than you see these days on most people.

      1. Only Stossel can rock the Selleck-esque stash.

        1. I just read something suggesting a Magnum P.I. video game. With the main character voiced and mustached by Tom Selleck.

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