Republicans keep saying that our problem is a spending problem, and chief among their targets for cuts to control costs is Medicare. Every plan they have suggested to date shifts the cost of care onto both present and future beneficiaries. However, if they are co concerned at cutting cost, then why are Republicans trying to raise the cost of Medicare.
House Republicans like to talk about the need to find common ground with President Obama to make progress on important national issues, especially after the election. Yet within days, they were setting an agenda to eliminate an important element of his signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act.
Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the majority leader, recently proposed that House Republicans set their sights on repealing the part of the law that creates an independent board that is supposed to help limit growth in Medicare spending. Increases in Medicare spending have already slowed substantially, but the board will be needed to make sure that they stay low after 2014, when most of the law takes effect.
The board, known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board, has been the subject of false attacks over the past few years by Republicans who claim that it will ration care, disrupt doctor-patient relationships, and tell patients what treatments they can receive. That is an outlandish way to describe a board that is prohibited by law from making any recommendations to ration care, raise premiums, increase cost-sharing, restrict benefits or limit eligibility.
The board will consist of 12 experts, including doctors, patient advocates, employers and financial analysts, who will be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, and three nonvoting government officials. Its sole duty is to monitor and, if necessary, reduce Medicare spending, which needs to be reined in to control deficits… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <NY Times>
Photo credit: Daily Kos
Why on earth would Republicans want to raise the cost of Medicare? One of the of the prime functions of the board is to keep watch for fraud and abuse by health care providers. Republicans hate controlling fraud and abuse, because it limits the ability of corporate criminals to game the system at our expense. They, in turn, reward Republican candidates handsomely with direct and indirect campaign cash. Republicans support raising costs that reward corporate greed, but they are determined to cut only costs to relieve Americans’’ need.