Will it be Jack Lew’s job to sell Medicare cuts to liberals?

Image Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

Image Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

A bit of a clunker from the normally spot-on Richard McGregor in today’s Financial Times. In a piece about the likely new US Treasury secretary, Jack Lew, MacGregor offers this bit of speculation about Lew’s new role in the Obama administration:

His strong liberal credentials may irk Republicans, but he is well-positioned to sell a large deficit agreement to Mr Obama’s Democratic base, wary of big cuts to social programmes.

First, I don’t think liberals see Lew as their guy at Treasury. More like another ex-Clintonian who got rich working on Wall Street. Someone to the left of Geithner certainly, but not a pugilist for progressive values. He’s there to push the Obama fiscal vision.

And that leads me to my second point: I don’t think there’s going to be a big Obama effort to make deep entitlement cuts. During the debt ceiling talks, the liberal base screamed at the mere possibility of the Obama WH agreeing to alter how Social Security benefits are calculated — a relatively minor change. And it was Lew himself who played a big role in keeping Medicaid out of the sequester. If Obama does decide to go that direction, Lew’s imprimatur won’t matter a bit.

Update: This new piece from the National Journal isn’t going to help Lew’s rep on the left:  “The Roots of Jack Lew’s Pro-Wall Street Policies: The new Treasury secretary may be another Geithner—and that could be dangerous for the country.”


8 thoughts on “Will it be Jack Lew’s job to sell Medicare cuts to liberals?

  1. I think characterizing the Medicare issue as “cuts” actually misrepresents what needs to be done.

    Because the Medicare we are talking about is B,C, and D which are not pre-paid into by people and are entirely voluntary to seniors, not mandatory and it is a fee for service insurance that basically sells for 1/4 what it actually need to sell for in order to be self-sufficient.

    When people can earn 85K in retirement income (170K for couples) and pay 100 a month for health insurance, it’s crazy especially since these same high income people can own several houses and cars, millions in assets and still pay only $100.00 a month.

    so “cuts” are not what needs to be done – at this level.

    Next – Medicare Part C – “advantage” or “gap” basically does away with the original Medicare 20% co-pay which makes seniors put some skin in the health care game.

    We need to make the 20% mandatory especially for higher income folks.

    these two changes alone have the potential to cut in half the tax expenditures for Medicare.

  2. I agree with your 2nd point. The politics of entitlement reforms are not beneficial to democrats, so they simply won’t pursue them. They just ran a successful election campaign running against reform. It is not going to happen.

    • The Democrats cut Medicare by over 700 billion dollars and what did the GOP do?

      Well they demagogued it of course and basically lied and said they would not cut Medicare even though it was actually in the Ryan budget proposal.

      How can you have a reasonable discussion about MediCare when:

      1. – The Dems actually cut it and get whacked by the GOP for doing it?

      2. – The GOP created Medicare Part D under Bush and now have nothing to say about it in the context of cutting entitlements?

      3. – essentially the GOP will not support any real changes to MediCare other than killing it by converting it to a voucher program.

      I’ve pointed out just how foolishly Medicare is priced for people who have retirement incomes of 70K, 100K, 200K and up… they do not even pay anywhere near what they should be paying and yet the GOP has no words along these lines at all.

      they basically do not want Medicare reformed or changed but instead they want it killed all together and anything short of that is apparently not negotiable because the GOP has put nothing on the table – short of killing Medicare.

      This is not Ronald Reagan’s GOP or even Newt Gingriches GOP.. this is a hard, hard right GOP that has no intention of reforms.

      We have a trillion dollar deficit. the total budget for Medicare (B,C,D) is around 300 billion. You could zero the program and still not come close to balancing the budget.

      Jack Lew is the least of their problems. You can pretty much bet that they’d be opposed to virtually anyone who would not agree with their stance on entitlements.

      we had an election about this.

      The GOP says we have a spending problem – but they really offer no solutions other than the generic “cut entitlements”. The voters rejected that approach.

      You cannot get elected just by opposing the other guy. You have to have your own proposals and the GOP is devoid of anything that is acceptable to most people.

    • Agree. The Dems will do virtually nothing to help cut spending. They are like drunken teenagers with the car keys and machine guns.

      Republicans will have to chop down spending, and can do so only if they can regain the Senate and presidency, while keeping the House.

      • re: ” Republicans will have to chop down spending, and can do so only if they can regain the Senate and presidency, while keeping the House.”

        how are they going to do that if their primary constituency is old white guys who love their social security and Medicare?


  3. For those of you (left, center, right) who think Obama runs his show -for the last 6 years- and NOT the banksters, I only have a one word “compliment” for what you really are: IDIOTS!!!

    • re: ” ..the last 6 years- and NOT the banksters, I only have a one word “compliment” for what you really are: IDIOTS!!!”

      is it the SAME banksters that ran the country under Bush?


  4. Medicare offers all enrollees a defined benefit. Hospital care is covered under Part A and outpatient medical services are covered under Part B. To cover the Part A and Part B benefits, Medicare offers a choice between an open-network single payer health care plan (traditional Medicare) and a network plan (Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C), where the federal government pays for private health coverage. ::,-

    With best regards <http://healthdigest101.comge

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