The White House hates Medicare cuts except when it doesn’t

Image Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Image Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The always observant Peter Suderman:

The Office of Management and Budget’s report on sequestration complains that GOP alternatives to the spending reductions are wrong partly because they “fail to address Medicare sequestration.”

Yet the White House’s whole theory of Medicare reform is built aroundcutting reimbursements to health providers: When President Obama talks about modestly reforming Medicare without cutting benefits, that’s exactly what he means. Obama has repeatedly called for cutting payments to drug manufacturers, and ObamaCare includes more than $700 billion in cuts to Medicare, which are distributed amongst the various big players in the health industry. The Medicare cost-control board that ObamaCare sets up is expected to focus heavily on reimbursement cuts.

The frictions here are revealing: The administration wants to protect Medicaid from any cuts, but it also knows that the combination of squeezed state budgets and the coming Medicaid expansion mean that some cutbacks will inevitably be necessary. It complains about the impact of relatively small cuts to Medicare providers, but also plans for hundreds of billions worth of reimbursement reductions to those same organizations.

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