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John Aravosis, AMERICAblog, Has GOP been given an opening to gut Medicare and Medicaid?

Has GOP been given an opening to gut Medi-care and Medi-caid?
by John Aravosis, Sep-tember 14, 2011


The president made clear his intentions in his speech to a joint session of Congress last week when, setting forth a plan to create jobs and revive the economy, he said he disagreed with members of his party “who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid.”

Few Democrats fit that description. But many say that if, as expected, Mr. Obama next week proposes $300 billion to $500 billion of savings over 10 years in entitlement programs, he will provide political cover for a new bipartisan Congressional committee to cut just as much or more.

And, they say, such proposals from the White House will hamstring Democrats who had been hoping to employ Medicare as a potent issue against Republicans in 2012 campaigns after many Congressional Republicans backed a budget that would have substantially altered Medicare by providing future beneficiaries with a subsidy to enroll in private health care plans.

The story goes on to note that Medicare and Medicaid comprise 23% of federal spending, and in 2021 they’ll comprise 28%. That’s bad. And it’s one of the reasons the President should have pushed for a public option during health care reform, that the groups should have pushed much harder for reform across the board (I didn’t see any Harry & Louise quality ads on our side), and the President should have been beating the drum about the GOP (and conservative Dems) short-circuiting health care form from the time they did until now. You don’t just drop the argument and then a few years later say “gosh, health care is expensive, let’s cut Medicare!”

All of this is tied together into one large political web. Every misstep feeds another. We said at the time that the President’s capitulation on health care was going to have ramifications later on, and it is. It is absurd that the President doesn’t own this issue. Instead, the GOP does, to a degree. They talk every day about “Obamacare.” How often do you hear the President talking about health care.

Can you name two things that the President’s health care reform package does? Here’s what I know: Something with pre-existing conditions (not quite sure what), and something with something called exchanges (zero idea there). Oh yeah, and it lets kids up to 26 stay on their parents’ plans. Otherwise, I haven’t a clue. And most people I know don’t either.  Of course, part of the problem is that some brainiac thought it wise to not implement the major provisions of the plan until 2014 – thus ensuring the public would see little to no benefit before then and thus neither understand the plan nor feel any loyalty to it. Which hands the issue over to the GOP, and makes it ripe for repeal if the President loses re-election and we lose the Senate.


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