USA Today Falls for Obamacare Medicare Double Count
The March 22nd USA Today article by Richard Wolf and Alison Young titled “Health Care: What You Could See” reports:
The law extracts about $500 billion over 10 years from the future growth rate of Medicare, bringing it down from 6.6% to about 6%, says John Rother of AARP. In doing so, it extends the life of the program for nine years, which relieves some pressure to cut benefits or increase premiums.
This is just false. You can’t take $500 billion from Medicare, use that to fund a brand new entitlement, and then also use that money to say you have preserve Medicare. Heritage Foundation fellow James Capretta explains:
CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf issued a clarification on December 23 and agreed that the Medicare HI savings cannot be counted twice. Either it is used to offset a new entitlement or it is used to improve the government’s capacity to pay future Medicare benefits.
CBO estimates that provisions in the Senate bill would increase Medicare HI revenues by $113 billion between 2010 and 2019 and decrease HI spending by $240 billion over that same period. If these tax increases and spending reduction provisions were set aside entirely to improve the capacity to finance Medicare benefits, the Senate bill would lose more than $350 billion in current offsets, which would mean that the bill increased the federal budget deficit by well over $400 billion in the first decade alone. Removing the HI savings from the House-passed legislation would have a similar impact on the bill’s bottom line.