Medicare Cuts In Senate Health Bill Get Support From Seniors’ GroupsBloomberg: Senate Democratic leaders, who are battling Republican attempts to "block Medicare spending cuts, face an even bigger headache: overcoming concern among members of their own party about the program's future funding." President Barack Obama has proposed using hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare trims, over 10 years, with a significant amount coming directly from the Medicare Advantage program, "to help finance the overhaul of the health-care system." A vote could come today on a GOP amendment designed to strip these cuts out of the bill, although that measure "is unlikely to pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate" (Faler, 12/3).
The New York Times reports that this debate over Medicare costs have reversed the roles of Democrats and Republicans. "Just 14 months ago, then Sen. Barack Obama accused his Republican rival in the presidential race, John McCain, of proposing 'drastic cuts to Medicare.' Not to be left out of the turnabout, Sen. McCain, Republican of Arizona, is assailing the Democrats for proposing some of the very same reductions in Medicare that he endorsed during his presidential campaign" (Herszenhorn, 12/2).
In a separate story, The New York Times notes that the Medicare Rights Center and the Center for Medicare Advocacy oppose McCain's amendment to remove the Medicare cuts from the Senate bill (12/2).
The AARP - a powerful senior lobby - is also backing the Medicare cuts, The Associated Press reports: "As Republicans pressed to restore the cuts, AARP said Democrats merely were recommending elimination of waste and inefficiency within the giant health care program for seniors." An alternative proposal from Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., would guarantee benefits for Medicare beneficiaries but leaves out such guarantees for Medicare Advantage (Espo, 12/2). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.