Friday, December 25, 2009

Dependence Day

Remember the $246 billion that Democrats were going to take out of Medicare to keep the program solvent as well as help fund their health care reform schemes? Turns out it was just a fantasy. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Democrats double-counted funds in their health care plans, drawing the savings for Medicare and financing for the new medical programs outlined in the Senate bill from the same source. The legislation, says the nonpartisan CBO, will increase the deficit, not reduce it as its supporters claimed. The $246 billion was to come from a cut in Medicare benefits. This would supposedly delay that program's inevitable insolvency — now projected to be 2017— by as much as nine years. But CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said Wednesday that "the improvement in Medicare's finances would not be matched by a corresponding improvement in the federal government's overall finances." The key point, according to Elmendorf, is that the Medicare savings "would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs." Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions from Alabama, who asked for the CBO analysis that revealed the chicanery, called the letter from Elmendorf a "game changer." more

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