Medicare advantage. Advantage Democrats

Robert Waldmann

OK so Snowe has broken with the other Republicans.

After a heated hour-long exchange, Democrats defeated a Republican effort to restore $113 billion in funding for Medicare Advantage, a private insurance program that has been criticized for high costs. All 13 Democrats on the committee were joined by one Republican, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine), in voting against the amendment offered by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who was backed by eight other Republicans.

I think the vote on the floor of the senate will be match point.

But why do I have to read an article by Ceci Connolly, Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery who are not all, shall we say, reliable friends of Democrats to find this argument.

“Democrats regard the $500 billion in Medicare cost savings as crucial to … the future solvency of the government health insurance program….”

All the reform bills cut Medicare outlays without touching Medicare dedicated revenues. This means that they reduce the Medicare shortfall. When Bush was trying to privatize social security that was just the most important number in Washington. Now it doesn’t exist any more. Now bragging that one is getting from a shortfall of $ 40 trillion to just $ 35 trillion is a bit odd, but if Republicans can argue that a huge Medicare shortfall means they have to change social security pensions in a way which increases the social security shortfall, then surely Democrats can get at least some milage out of a huge reduction in the very huge Medicare shortfall no ?

Evidently not.