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View Diary: Understanding the $716 Billion Dollar Figure (113 comments)

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    Medicare Changes under Radar

    There are some uncomfortable truths about Medicare changes lurking in the health reform law. Because the pols on both sides of the aisle supported these changes, it’s not surprising that almost no one has been eager to talk about them in campaign ads or otherwise.

    Beneficiaries with higher incomes—this year $85,000 for individuals and $170,000 for couples—have been paying higher Part B premiums for some time now. (Part B pays for doctor, lab, and hospital outpatient services.) But the health reform law froze those income thresholds (pdf), meaning that, over time, more and more “wealthier” income people will pay higher premiums. There will be no indexing that would have meant fewer beneficiaries would pay the higher amounts.

    And then as Matt Stoller
    says, there is the whole second term agenda under the radar.
    The White House already tried cutting all three main entitlement programs, last year (cuts to Medicaid are actually cuts to Obamacare, for what it’s worth, since an expansion of Medicaid was a key plank of the new health care law).

        The White House agreed to cut at least $250 billion from Medicare in the next 10 years and another $800 billion in the decade after that, in part by raising the eligibility age. The administration had endorsed another $110 billion or so in cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs, with $250 billion more in the second decade. And in a move certain to provoke rebellion in the Democratic ranks, Obama was willing to apply a new, less generous formula for calculating Social Security benefits, which would start in 2015.

    No better time to pin them down than right now while they seek our support!

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