See link for graphs and charts
Saturday, September 05, 2009
by Bruce Webb
Still $218 billion over ten years is still something. But lets look at the breakdown. Of the $538.5 billion in cuts $172 billion of it is the result of removing the 15% extra payment per enrollee granted to the private insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage. This extra payment, which made a mockery of the idea that private companies could provide a better product for the same price, was originally designed to subvert traditional Medicare and is no real loss. If we subtract that $172 billion from $218 billion we get a net spending cut to traditional Medicare of $46 billion over ten years representing only a small fraction of the cost to extend coverage to 97% of legal non-elderly Americas.
So why are Republicans pushing this point so hard? Are they really concerned about the specific tradeoffs represented by the above two charts (because wihin Medicare there are winners and losers)? I think not, instead all their crocodile tears about Gramma are disguising real tears at the prospect of the outcome shown in the third row of the CBO table: the $583 billion in extra taxes on the top 1.5% over the next ten years.
Rule no 1 in evaluating Republican proposals and counter-proposals: it's about the taxes first and foremost. They don't like paying for services for the working class. Period.