President Obama released his 2013 budget today with predictable howls from Republicans that there should be more cuts in Medicare and Social Security to preserve tax cuts for the wealthy. While the President?s budget projects a deficit below $1 trillion and foresees the federal shortfall declining to sustainable levels by 2017, it doesn?t overhaul Social Security or turn Medicare into ?coupon care? so for conservatives, it?s considered dead on arrival.We applaud the President for rejecting the loud and well-financed Washington clarion call for balancing the budget with massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
?While the President?s budget offers a balanced approach addressing revenue and spending, his plan shifts even more costs to seniors in Medicare through increased means-testing, premium hikes and co-pays. The real cost driver is not Medicare, as some have claimed, but rising healthcare costs system-wide. We need to tackle the true problem, not just pass more costs on to seniors. That?s why the National Committee supported health care reform as the best way to bring spending under control. We should be expanding on the progress made since the Affordable Care Act became law rather than finding new ways to send seniors the budget bill.? Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO
However, we do not support the President?s plan to expand Medicare means-testing. While it may sound logical that so-called ?rich? seniors should pay more during tight budget times, the truth is that?s not what means testing will actually do:
?While some tout increasing means testing in Medicare as a way to insure ?rich? seniors pay their share, the truth is, the middle-class will take this hit too. Medicare has already been means tested since 2007 and the number of beneficiaries subject to higher premiums is already increasing. Proposals that target even more Medicare beneficiaries for increasing premiums will ultimately impact beneficiaries with modest incomes.? Max Richtman, President and CEO
Proposals that would subject even more Medicare beneficiaries to income-related premiums would impact beneficiaries who certainly would not be considered higher income. For example, beneficiaries with incomes of just $47,000 today, would face higher premiums by 2035 according to a report on means testing prepared by the Kaiser Family Foundation.