Yesterday President Barack Obama laid out his plan to curb the nation’s deficits and get the country back on a more fiscally responsible track. He proposed tax reforms - repeatedly stating that wealthier American must pay their fair share. But he also proposed large cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Under the president’s plan elderly homebound patients would pay co-pays for their in-home services and Medicare recipients would pay higher premiums and deductibles. Drug companies, states and some hospitals would all see their payments slashed in an effort to trim about $320 billion dollars from the system over the next 10 years. Republicans aren’t really slamming the Medicare/Medicaid part of the plan, instead focusing on the president’s tax increases for the wealthy. Meanwhile, democrats have lauded the tax reforms while decrying the entitlement cuts as a serious threat to society. As the proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid come into focus, how exactly will the cuts affect the poor and the elderly? Some of the dollars that will be saved by spending cuts will be redirected as increased payments to doctors. Will that incentivize doctors to treat indigent patients? Who are the winners and loser under the presidents’ plan and how will the politics of this play out.
Jamie Court, President, Consumer Watchdog; Author of The Progressive’s Guide to Raising to Hell (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2010)
Michael Tanner, Senior Policy Analyst, CATO Institute with a particular emphasis on health care reform, social welfare policy, and Social Security