Not that long ago, Dick Gephardt and other Democrat congressmen would send out campaign flyers, targeted and mailed solely to elderly voters, warning that Republicans would slash their Medicare benefits if elected. Republicans never did. But now, Gephardt’s fellow Democrat, President Barack Obama, is proposing to do just that.
Obama’s weekly radio address on June 13 announced a series of proposed $313 billion in cuts in Medicare (for anyone over 65) and Medicaid (for poor people of any age). When combined with other Medicare and Medicaid “revisions” Obama requested earlier this year in his fiscal 2010 budget proposal, Obama’s proposed cuts amount to $622 billion in Medicare and Medicaid revisions over 10 years. According to nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly, while both Medicare and Medicaid are targeted, most of those cuts come at the expense of Medicare (health care for seniors).
Obama specifically zeroed in on having the government pay lower prices for drugs under Medicare’s outpatient prescription drug benefit. That means either that patients will pay more or that fewer drugs will be available after they are no longer cost-effective to produce. $22 billion would be saved by cutting payments for imaging services, skilled nursing and inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals. Another set of cuts are called “productivity adjustments,” which is liberal-speak for “rationing.” Administration officials will “encourage” more “cost-effective” care by using nurse coordinators instead of specialists, and by adopting “health information technology” that will arm the government with the information necessary to deny treatment that bureaucrats deem not cost effective.
The purpose of the cuts are to help find money to pay for Obama’s proposed universal health care. He is literally taking away from seniors so that he can give it instead to illegal aliens and people who either can’t or won’t get their own health insurance.
And Obama plans to pay for it in a way that rewards his supporters and ruthlessly punishes his opponents. He is backing off his earlier proposal to pay for the plan by limiting itemized tax deductions for the wealthiest Americans. Voters earning over $200,000 a year gave Obama a 6-point margin over McCain. But voters over 65 were the only age group to vote against Obama, so they are being punished in a potentially deadly way. Medicare cuts will kill those folks off quicker, so they can’t continue to vote against him.
Wow. Obama really plays for keeps!