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WSJ Looks At McCain's Plans To Cut Medicaid/Medicare Benefits

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At this late in the game, revealing something like this could really hurt McCain’s support among the elderly. Because it plays directly into Obama’s message that McCain’s plans would leave people without insurance. And with McCain’s staff agreeing that an average of $130 billion a year would be cut in the next 10 years, I’m not sure he’s going to be able to convince voters otherwise. Even if he does claim that his health care policy will fill in the gaps and nobody will lose coverage.

From WSJ:

John McCain would pay for his health plan with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, a top aide said, in a move that independent analysts estimate could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion over 10 years to the government programs. […]

But Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Sen. McCain’s senior policy adviser, said Sunday that the campaign has always planned to fund the tax credits, in part, with savings from Medicare and Medicaid. Those government health-care programs serve seniors, poor families and the disabled. Medicare spending for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 is estimated at $457.5 billion. […]

Mr. Holtz-Eakin said the plan is accurately described as budget neutral because it assumes enough savings in Medicare and Medicaid spending to make up the difference. He said the savings would come from eliminating Medicare fraud and by reforming payment policies to lower the overall cost of care. He said the new tax credits will help some low-income people avoid joining Medicaid. The campaign also proposes increasing Medicare premiums for wealthier seniors.

Personally, I think the idea that McCain wants to keep any healthcare plan “budget neutral” is preposterous. The point would be to cover all Americans, not just increase the % of people with health care. Otherwise it’s not universal health care.

I bet this comes up in tomorrow’s town hall debate.