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Most of this article is behind a subscription wall at the Financial Times, but here are the relevant portions, which are rather alarming. These sorts of deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will not help those who desperately rely on these programs for health care, and neither will these cuts help President Obama look good to independent and moderate voters. They only instead serve to further undercut his chances at re-election in 2012, and these cuts are of his own making.
Barack Obama is expected to lay out a plan next week that would cut several hundred billion dollars from Medicare and Medicaid, the large government healthcare schemes for the elderly and the poor, as part of a pitch to cut future deficits by more than $1,500bn.Senior White House officials said the US president would base a detailed blueprint for fiscal reform, which is to be delivered on Monday, on an earlier speech he delivered in April on deficit reduction.

Here is more below from the article:

During those discussions in July, the White House had agreed to $425bn in cuts to Medicaid and Medicare – with $150bn extracted from Medicare providers such as doctors and hospitals, $150bn coming from Medicare beneficiaries, and $125bn coming out of reforms to Medicaid, administration officials said at the time. Among the menu of policy ideas to reach those targets were an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare. Allowing Medicare more flexibility to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical groups and preventing special deals delaying the entry of generic drugs into certain markets could also be part of the plan.

Mr Obama’s plan could also feature a change in the way the US government measures inflation, switching to a less generous chained-consumer price index. The biggest impact of this measure – which could save between $250bn and $300bn over ten years – would be felt by recipients of Social Security, the retirement scheme. During the failed July talks, the White House agreed to put that change in place starting in 2015, but with protections for low-income workers.

The administration has also signalled there would be “discussion” of tax reform in Mr Obama’s recommendations to the committee – particularly on the corporate side. Business lobby groups are pushing the administration to propose a target for a lower corporate tax rate compared to the current 35 per cent level, which would then open the door to an agreement to eliminate subsidies and tax breaks for businesses.

The pursuit of deficit reduction, coming so soon on the heels of a moderately successful jobs pitch, is maddening. This is not what the American people want. Yet the President and the White House continue pursuing it. This is not going to help them draw a contrast against the eventual GOP nominee by flanking the GOP nominee from the right on deficit reduction.

As you can see in the CNN poll as discussed by Jed Lewison, a plurality of the American people support the Obama jobs plan, and two-thirds want the focus to be on jobs, not the deficit.

If you had to choose, would you rather see Barack Obama and Congress pay more attention to reducing the budget deficit, or more attention to creating more jobs?
Jobs: 65
Deficit: 29
Both equally (vol.): 6

That above just says it all there. On Monday, the President is going to release his deficit reduction plan, which includes major cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Independent, moderate, and Democratic voters are going to take a look at that, and the President's approval rating, or his electoral standing will not improve. Why? He's returning his focus back to the deficit rather than to jobs.

I feel like I'm watching a train coming towards another train on the tracks, and there's very little room for error in switching the tracks so the trains miss each other, but there's not enough time to do it. And that time's running out.

Originally posted to slinkerwink on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 09:39 AM PDT.

Also republished by March4Healthcare, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, The Amateur Left, The Rebel Alliance, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Team DFH.

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