We Have to Increase Medicare Spending Before We Can Cut It

Conn Carroll /

From day one we have been highly skeptical of Congress’ ability to cut Medicare as necessitated to fund Obamacare’s $2.5 trillion in new spending. The top down cuts-by-committee-of-experts approach is far too susceptible to typical Washington deal making. Now we learn that in order to secure votes in the final days before passage, the House has already proved Obamacare will only increase, not decrease, Medicare spending. Kaiser Health News reports:

A last-minute deal to win votes for the health care overhaul underscores the political dilemma for Congress as it tries to reduce health care costs.

As part of a manager’s amendment to the bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to increase Medicare payments by $800 million over the next two years to hospitals and physicians in Iowa, Wisconsin, Oregon and other states that argue they are low-cost, efficient providers of medical care.

The Democrats’ health care bill would decrease Medicare spending by more than $400 billion over the decade and establish an independent commission to make recommendations on how to reduce Medicare spending.

Some health care analysts questioned whether increasing Medicare reimbursement rates as Congress tries to overhaul the program was the right choice.

Stephen Zuckerman, a senior fellow and health economist at the Urban Institute, said he was surprised to see the additional funding for low-cost hospitals since hospitals in the Midwest do not have “access issues” and the bill was trying to reduce Medicare spending.

We’re not even through the first week and Obamacare’s deficit reduction claims are already being exposed as a complete fraud.