Tag Archive: Congress Deficit

Sep 09 2011

Hands Off Medicare & Social Security

Memo to the President and the Super Committee: Hands off of our social safety nets

From Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft:

The SuperCommittee Henchmen meet today. Raising medicare eligibility to age 67 is on the table for discussions. The Democrats have submitted a memo with various proposed changes and a discussion of each. Here’s the memo(pdf). Raising the eligibility age appears on page 7.

   President Obama proposed raising the Medicare eligibility age as part of the debt-ceiling agreement, but Democrats are hardly united behind the policy.

The Democrats note that it’s not going to be a money saver — it’s just going to shift who pays the money

Once again in his speech before Congress, President Obama kept the door open for cuts to the social safety net, calling for “reform” but saying that “modest reforms” to Medicare and Medicaid won’t mean cuts for “current beneficiaries.” To the presidents ardent supporters, it’s always “but, but, he didn’t say that”. Well maybe not last night, but he has over the summer:

To the chagrin of many in his party, this summer Mr. Obama proposed changes in Medicare and Social Security that once would have been unthinkable for a Democratic president during his unsuccessful talks with the House speaker, John A. Boehner, for a “grand bargain” on cutting deficits. In return for the Republicans’ agreement to raise taxes after 2012 for the wealthy, Mr. Obama indicated that his party would support slowly increasing the eligibility age for Medicare to 67 from 65 and changing the formula for cost-of-living increases in Social Security to a less generous one that some economists consider more accurate.

It is never about what this president says as it is about what he doesn’t say, as Ms. Merritt says in her article today about the president’s speech, “Obviously, that excludes those of us on the precipe of eligibility” and tax cuts be damned:

I could care less about a $1,500 tax break when it’s going to be funded by delaying Medicare eligibility. For a paltry $1,500, he’s ensuring I will have to continue to pay $15,000 a year in insurance premiums and deductibles for an extra two years (65 to 67), even though I held up my end of the bargain and paid my required share in medicare and social security taxes for 45 years. And these are the premiums for healthy people — they are age driven. For those two years alone, he’s offering me $3,000. but costing me $30,000. What a deal. And it’s not an entitlement he’s denying, it’s money I’ve already paid in which the Government always told me I could count on receiving back in the form of Medicare at age 65.

And what if we get disabled between 65 and 67? Disability policies end at 65 (probably because that’s when people start receiving Medicare)and even though some policies can be extended, the premiums for doing so this late in the game are so exorbitant, it makes little sense. If we become sick or disabled and unable to work at age 65, and we have no Medicare or disability insurance, how do we survive? On social security? That’s a laugh. I’d rather Obama asked me to donate $1,500. to someone already needy and left Medicare alone. I would have been glad to do it.


To add insult to injury, President Obama has also called for the Super Committee to cut more than the $1.5 trillion from the budget than it was tasked to do. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signed on to President Obama’s call to cut more than the $1.5 trillion that the committee has been tasked to do:

“Yes, I want them to go bigger than that,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday when asked whether he thought the group should shoot for more than $1.5 trillion in savings. “I’m not going to set a number, but I’d like it to be more than the minimum.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing that he, too, would like the committee to act with the “courage and conviction to adopt essentially the plan, the premise and the proposals” of the previous deficit-reduction commissions. He also noted that he had spoken with all of the supercommittee members except for Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

So how does anyone think that goal will be achieved? The private contract bloated military budget? By increasing revenues through tax reform and letting the Obama/Bush tax cuts expire?

Dream on