Dem. Rep. Betsy Markey: Yep, Medicare Will Take a Hit
4:38 PM, Aug 27, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Obama has tried valiantly to keep discussion of cutting Medicare focused on the idea of cutting waste and waste alone, but the fact that the CBO (and Obama himself) concede that the bill on the table is not adequately funded in the first 10 years or beyond, has some folks worried.
Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey gave credence to seniors' worries with this comment at a Colorado town hall Wednesday:
While reminiscent of Joe Biden's famously politically astute "higher taxes are patriotic" line, I'm not sure how well this is going to go over with Obamacare skeptics, particularly of the senior variety.
It will make them wonder how much of the idea of cutting Medicare benefits is really a "myth," as the president says:
Can Obama really blame seniors for being suspicious about whether cutting waste in Medicare (which I'm in favor of) means cutting benefits? After all, Democrats have been dedicated to the demagoguery of just that equation whenever cutting costs has come up in the past.
It has put Obama in the strange position of saying, Well, all cuts to social programs were evil and harmful until I came along, but now they're to serve a greater good, so get on board, oldsters!
In another ironic Medicare twist, Obama's quest to cut Medicare waste may undercut another selling point of the left's beloved "public" government-run insurance option. Obama has argued repeatedly that Medicare's low administrative costs are proof of government's efficiency, but the level of the administrative costs is due to a combination of fuzzy government accounting and the very lack of oversight Obama claims to want to eliminate to save money. By employing more people to oversee Medicare to cut waste and fraud, Obama will eliminate the administrative savings he's been touting to sell yet another government health program.
Even the New York Times conceded as much in a 1997 story about the fraud and waste that has long plagued Medicare:
Just keep squeezing that balloon. Welcome to government efficiency and truth in accounting. But if you give into your skeptic side, you're just succumbing to "myths" and "fear-mongering."