Congress Considers Slashing $600 Billion From Medicare As Part Of Debt Ceiling Deal

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Looking to reach a deal on $2.4 trillion in spending cuts as part of an agreement to raise the debt limit, lawmakers are considering a bipartisan proposal to cut $600 billion from Medicare over the next decade.The plan, introduced by Sen Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), would raise the program’s eligibility age from 65 to 67, and force wealthier seniors to contribute more toward to their own care.

“Our plan contains some strong medicine but that’s what it will take to keep Medicare alive. But we believe our plan administers that medicine in a fair way,” Lieberman said in a statement. “It asks just about everybody to give something to help preserve Medicare. But it asks wealthier Americans to give more than those who have less.”

The Democratic Leadership was quick to condemn the proposal, with former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi calling it “unacceptable.”

But Democrats are willing to accept at least some Medicare cuts in order to lower the deficit, POLITICO reports, as long as Republicans agree to the elimination of corporate subsidies and capping deductions on the wealthy. 

If such a compromise could be formed, it would have both Democrats and Republicans agreeing to concessions they previously said were off the table.

Here is are a list of the proposed Medicare changes:

  • Raise eligibility age from 65 to 67.
  • Require those with higher Income Americans to pay more out of pocket for medical care.
  • Speed up changes to reimbursements for home health care passed in the health care reform bill.
  • Eliminating Medicare reimbursement to hospitals for unpaid copays and deductibles.
  • Raise premiums on all seniors for Medicare Part B to 35 per cent of enrollment cost, from 25 per cent; and even more on those with higher incomes.
  • Implement a three year “doc fix” to prevent reimbursement reductions for doctors at the end of this year.

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