Medicare Political Stalemate Continues; Fact-Checking Democratic And GOP Claims
News outlets are reporting on Medicare, politics and sobering assessment of the country's fiscal future.
The Washington Post: Parties Agree On Need To Curb Health-Care Spending But Deadlock Over Medicare
Amid a bitter debate over taming the federal deficit, the political parties are in rare agreement on a need to curb the nation's spending on health care - and on Medicare most of all. ... For the most part, Democratic health-policy analysts support a patchwork of older ideas, such as raising retirement ages, making moderate use of private subsidies or setting higher prices for wealthy participants. The most optimistic liberal health-policy experts contend that Medicare costs will slow because of changes embedded in last year's law to overhaul the health-care system. ... "In many ways, the Democrats sort of shot their wad on the Affordable Care Act," said Marilyn Moon, senior vice president and director of the health program at the American Institutes for Research. "We have to see how far it takes us before we start a lot of other stuff" (Goldstein, 6/10).
ABC News/USA Today: U.S. Funding For Future Promises Lags By Trillions, Looks Dismal
The federal government's financial condition deteriorated rapidly last year, far beyond the $1.5 trillion in new debt taken on to finance the budget deficit, a USA TODAY analysis shows. The government added $5.3 trillion in new financial obligations in 2010, largely for retirement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. That brings to a record $61.6 trillion the total of financial promises not paid for. ... Medicare alone took on $1.8 trillion in new liabilities, more than the record deficit prompting heated debate between Congress and the White House over lifting the debt ceiling (Cauchon, 6/11).
Fox News: Social Security and Medicare Need Reform Now, Say Trustees
Chuck Blahous and Robert Reischauer, the two independent trustees of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund, had a sober warning Friday: act quickly or the nation's two most popular entitlements are in serious danger. "The earlier we act to deal with these problems, the better off we're gonna be, certainly better off the vulnerable populations are gonna be," said Blahous, referring to low-income seniors and those already receiving benefits. The Medicare hospital trust fund will be unable to pay promised benefits in 2024, five years earlier than previously thought. ... The president's budget director told Fox News that even when the trust funds run out, both Social Security and Medicare would still have some income. "We have a little bit of time,' said Jack Lew, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. "We do have a challenge, but it's not that we fall off of a cliff" (Angle, 6/10).
The Hill: Reeling From Ryan Budget, GOP Wary Of Debt Deal Vote
The source, who requested anonymity, added that Republican "rank-and-file members are very, very concerned that this was the canary in the coalmine on Medicare and it's going to affect all of the other difficult votes that leadership is going to ask them to make" (Hooper, 6/10).
CNN (Video): Sen. Sherron Brown On Budget Negotiations And Why Medicare Should Not Be Cut
Vice President Joe Biden resumes budget talks with top lawmakers on Thursday at the White House. The impasse rests on GOP refusal to raise the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts and that may not even be enough for some. Conservative Republicans, including the powerful Club for Growth, are demanding more than spending cuts they want other reforms including a balanced-budget amendment. One of the items Democrats want off of the table in any deal is Ryan's "Medicare" proposal (6/9).
The Washington Post: A Pox On Both Their 'Mediscare' Houses
We have, however, assigned many Pinocchios to Democrats such as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) for comments that mischaracterized GOP plans for Medicare (Kessler, 6/9).