Oh, come on. Of course Obama's trying to cut Medicare and raise the eligibility age. Why do you think he talked about protecting "current beneficiaries?" You'd have to believe in unicorns if you heard that speech and still think otherwise. But you know what the problem with that is? First, our middle-aged, stressed-out, uninsured bodies are giving out. If we don't die first, but manage to hang on to age 67, we'll be moving into the Medicare system with much more serious (and expensive) illnesses that could have been treated more cheaply in the prevention stage. The other problem is, we'll have to work much longer -- and that will take up jobs that young people desperately need.
Other than those little problems, I'd have to say that having a Democratic president embracing Republican talking points on Medicare (even for a bill that has almost no chance of passing) is a fabulous idea! What's not to love?
WASHINGTON -- In his jobs speech before Congress Thursday night, President Barack Obama appeared to call on congressional Democrats to cut Medicare, a politically toxic proposal that undercuts a previous Democratic campaign strategy.
Obama pushed to cut Medicare during the debate over raising the federal debt ceiling, urging lawmakers from both parties to accept a "grand bargain" that involved cutting both Social Security and Medicare. Obama's move upset congressional Democrats, who saw a proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to radically cut Medicare as an attack ad opening going into the Nov. 2012 elections. House Republicans voted for the Ryan proposal en masse, just months after hordes of GOP freshmen were swept into office amid advertisements vowing to protect the hugely popular entitlement program.
[...] "Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns," Obama said during his speech Thursday. "But here’s the truth. Millions of Americans rely on Medicare in their retirement. And millions more will do so in the future. They pay for this benefit during their working years. They earn it. But with an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it. We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it. "
Yep, he went there. We have to burn the village in order to save it!
Medicare faces long-term problems due to the rising costs of health care, a uniquely American problem sparked by protections the U.S. government provides for health insurance companies and drug manufacturers. Obama's health care reform bill attempted to lower those costs, but his call now to "reform" Medicare is sure to be interpreted as a call to raise the eligibility age for Medicare, something Obama urged during the debt ceiling debate to no avail.
As Ezra Klein reported for the Washington Post on Wednesday, Obama is planning a separate deficit reduction package that liberal groups expect to include raising the eligibility age. Making this change for both Medicare and Social Security hits poorer participants in the programs hardest, since they are more likely to die at a younger age.