Which $700 Billion?

Today’s Romney-Ryan-Republican demagoguery is that President Obama cut $700 billion from Medicare. Yesterday when he officially announced that he was adding Paul Ryan to the ticket, Mittens said,

“Unlike the current president, who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion, we will preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security.”

And Mr. Caterpillar went further

“This president stole — he didn’t cut Medicare — he stole $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “If any person in this entire debate has blood on their hands in regard to Medicare, it’s Barack Obama. He’s the one that’s destroying Medicare.”

The old lie was that Obama had cut $500 billion from Medicare, and I wondered where they got the new number. I saw it attributed to a new revised analysis of the Affordable Care Act by the Congressional Budget Office, done after the recent Supreme Court decision on the ACA. I found the analysis, dated July 2012, but it didn’t seem to say much about Medicare.

But then I found “Letter to the Honorable John Boehner providing an estimate for H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act,” dated July 24, 2012. Boehner had requested a revision on the budget impact of repealing the ACA.

So the CBO wrote back and said, dude, repealing Obamacare will cost us big time. It would add $109 billion to the federal deficit during the period 2013 to 2022. And then it said,

The ACA also includes a number of other provisions related to health care that are estimated to reduce net federal outlays (primarily for Medicare). By repealing those provisions, H.R. 6079 would increase other direct spending in the next decade by an estimated $711 billion.

And that’s where they got the $700 billion. If repealing Obamacare would add $700 billion to Medicare spending, it must be that Obamacare is draining $700 billion out of Medicare spending. Except, it isn’t. No programs are being cut; the the $700 billion represent savings in cost made possible by Obamacare.

For example, when the individual mandate kicks in in 2014, about 30 million more Americans will get health insurance who don’t have it now. That means hospitals won’t be stuck with so many unpaid bills, which will save them much money. The Obama administration used that to negotiate a reduction in Medicare hospital reimbursement rate. That’s a chunk of the $700 billion. Ending the overpayments to Medicare Advantage is another chunk. There are several other such chunks that should make it possible to run Medicare with less money.

The savings are to keep Medicare solvent. No benefits are being cut. The ACA is not taking money away from Medicare and giving it to some other program. Now, it’s possible that when all the pieces are in motion it will not work as planned, but to say that the $700 billion is being cut out of Medicare to fund “Obamacare” is just dishonest.

Paul Ryan’s budget, on the other hand, cuts just as much out of Medicare to help fund tax cuts for the wealthy.

We’re going to be hearing all about the awful $700 billion over the next few days, if not weeks. I just thought we all ought to be clear about what’s being discussed.

12 thoughts on “Which $700 Billion?

  1. So what are Democrats going to do about this misinformation? The Republicans are getting very very loud.

  2. Did anybody call them on it on Meet the Press?

    The GOP is doing all it can to confuse the elderly and resist the well-deserved label, “the party of death.”

    Just remember their plan for the uninsured.

    “Let them die.”

  3. You know what?
    I don’t blame the feckin’ Republicans for lying for well over 30 years.
    It’s been working pretty damn well for them.

    I blame the feckin’ idjit MSM for uncritically passing on the feckin’ bullsh*t, and the feckin’ morons who uncritically view, listen, or read it.

    I just happened to turn on Cup O’ Schmoe this morning, only to watch Schmoe talk about Ryan as if the motherfecker walked on water, and was put on the ticket to absolve Republicans of their RINO sins.
    I turned it off – too much like man-porn – NTTAWWT! – just not my cup of tea.

    And then, sucker that I am, I turned the show back on, to see Schmoe talking to America’s greatest MSM pontificator of Village Wisdom, John Meacham.
    And Schmoe says something to the effect of, ‘Since 1988, my party has been the party of Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich, and George W Bush. A party that that represents where I come from, the South. And now, at the had of the ticket, we’ve got a guy from MA and another one from WI, and I’m proud that we’ve broken out, and I think that the nation will recognize that.’
    And John “Doofus” Meacham nods his head. I turned off the TV quickly, before he gave his sage Village blessins on Schmoe’s bullsh*t.

    Uhm, Schmoe, since 1988, your tickets have been Poppy Bush, a man from the Northeast, and Quale, a man from the Midwest; Dole, from KS, and Kemp from CA and NY; W, son of Poppy, also from the Northeast (with fake TX down-home Jesusness), and Cheney, from the Mountain West; and McCain, from the South West, and Plalin, from Venus.
    W was the only one who even LIVED in the feckin’ South.

    Now, did that great sage, John Meacham, mention that? No, he only nodded his head at Schmoe’s own “sagacity.”

    You can’t blame the Republicans for lying when it still works – pretty much EVERY TIME!!!
    Next – Obama’s the one who wants to privatize Social Security! And Ryan and Romney want to save Social Services for the future generations.

    After over 30 years, you can’t keep blaming the kid who yells “Wolf.”
    Not when the towns watchmen hear it, and keep screaming “WOLF WOLF!! WOLF!!!” every time.
    And then the idjit townspeople come running up the hill, only to realize the kid was calling to the wolves to eat them, and they run back down, minus a few friends and relatives.
    At some point, you have to recognize that a good chunk of your village has been Wolf-chow.
    Me? I might start hanging the town’s watchmen on my way to working my up towards the kid.
    But then, WTF do I know?
    What little brains I have, I try to use for something besides trying to remember what time and channel “American Idol” is on.

  4. Raunch Pubis is just awful, the yapping terrier pup next door that barks its head off when you walk by. He’s from Racine, which is in Ryan’s CD, btw. They’re trying to get out ahead of the ‘fundamentally change Medicare’ meme that Obama is pushing. And it’s perfect for the Repugs. Thanks for the leg work on this Maha, and the nice multi-paragraph write-up, but that’s way too much thinking about gov’t spending than most Americans want to hear. If RR can get this out there, and the truth takes longer than a thirty second sound bite to explain, Obama is screwed on one of his biggest tools against the Rolls Royce campaign.

  5. cund – some advice to preserve your sanity and ensure that you don’t end up in the loony bin without access to this site – our loss for sure.

    Politicians are not human beings. Politicians look like human beings, but that’s as far as it goes. They aren’t even a sub-species of the human species. They are a separate species which include Romney, Ryan, Obama, Biden, the entire House and the entire Senate. What they say, do, advocate are completely without substance or sense. On the other hand, within their unique species what they say, do, advocate have substance and make perfect sense.

    Keep that at the forefront of your mind from now until November, as I have been doing, and all will be well. (Besides, you may discover, as I have, that the species noted for their adeptness at the art of bloviating, and little else, can be quite humorous.)

  6. Pingback: The Mahablog » Take These Chains

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