Medicare Cuts Maintained in Senate Bill
Editor’s note: Clearly, these Senators have never designed nor implemented a health plan for plan participants. I have done so over the past 25 years. Reducing the financial support for a plan shifts costs to plan participants. They defend the cuts by rationalizing that it is a 2% slowdown in spending. Making it sound like only a small thing. They say they’ve added coverage for preventive procedures. All true, but a misdirection. $400-500 billion dollars will impact the care that people get. People who are over age 65 and least able to go out, get a job, and finance their care.
Erica Werner & David Espo
December 04, 2009
Casting its first votes on revamping the nation’s health care system, the Senate rejected a Republican bid Thursday to stave off Medicare cuts and approved safeguards for coverage of mammograms and other preventive tests for women.
The first round of votes ended with a fragile Democratic coalition hanging together.
Senators voted 58-42 to reject an amendment by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that would have stripped more than $400 billion in Medicare cuts from the nearly $1 trillion measure. It would have sent the entire 2,074-page bill back to the Senate Finance Committee for a redo.
Republicans said the proposed cuts to health insurance plans and medical providers mean seniors in the popular Medicare Advantage program will lose benefits. And they predicted lawmakers will ultimately back away from the cuts, once seniors start feeling the brunt.
“Medicare is already in trouble. The program needs to be fixed, not raided to create another new government program,” said Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Democrats said seniors will not lose any guaranteed benefits. The cuts — amounting to a 2 percent slowdown in spending — will help keep Medicare solvent by making it more efficient, they contended. And they pointed out that the health care overhaul bill improves preventive care and prescription coverage.
“My colleagues on the Republican side have resorted to the politics of fear to preserve a broken health care system,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. “What we’re hearing are scare tactics designed to mislead seniors.”
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