Democrats Raid Medicare

By Saul Anuzis and Jim Martin – – Friday, July 30, 2021

Originally published in the Washington Times

While Democrats love to claim sole credit for Medicare‘s enactment, they also love to raid it to pay for other programs they are fond of promoting. This is a charge that currently rings true as the Biden, Pelosi, Schumer triumvirate is raiding it to pay for much of their infrastructure legislation.

We keep a close watch on Medicare, a program more than 60 million seniors have paid into and deserve its benefits, and we came across a column written and published by Chris Jacobs a few months ago. It deserves further attention simply because it exposes their craven infrastructure plan for what it is, a raid on Medicare

Mr. Jacobs cites the 2019 passage by House Democrats of a bill requiring the federal government to ‘negotiate’ down drug prices, a plan demanding lower prices, which we seniors see as a terrible idea that will lead to cuts in research and development spending by drug companies, resulting in bringing to market fewer life-enhancing medicines for our seniors and soon to be seniors in their later years. 

While paraphrasing parts of this excellent piece, we herewith quote further from it. Mr. Jacobs goes on to point out that in 2019 the Congressional Budget Office found that the House drug pricing bill would lower Medicare spending by $485.4 billion over a decade. Those savings, Mr. Jacobs wrote, would fund some of the Democrats’ green agenda, extensions of the welfare programs created temporarily in the $1.9 trillion “Covid relief” measure, and much else.

Continuing, and we quote, “in using Medicare as a piggy bank, the Biden administration would follow in the footsteps of its Democratic predecessor. Obamacare used $716 billion in Medicare savings to fund its new entitlements. In a fiscal sleight-of-hand, government accounting standards allowed Democrats to count the $716 billion as paying both for Obamacare and extending Medicare’s solvency—an illogical scenario. This trick allowed both parties to ignore Medicare’s unsustainable financing for years. Thus the Medicare Part A trust fund, projected before Obamacare to become insolvent by 2017, lumbers on, largely unreformed.”

Further, Mr. Jacobs said, “the left-wing of the Democratic Party would go even further, dispensing with the notion that seniors’ health coverage deserves pride of place by abolishing the current Medicare program outright. The single-payer legislation introduced by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal would also liquidate the Medicare trust funds, making the bills not Medicare for All but Medicare for None. Liquidating funds reserved for poor seniors to finance coverage for often-affluent youngsters sounds like a political attack Democrats would hurl at Republicans, but the progressives’ single-payer system would do just that.”

“While he ran against single-payer health care in his party’s primary, President Biden has shown about as much interest in protecting Medicare as his Democratic colleagues: not much,” Mr. Jacobs wrote. “His campaign proposed no reforms to ensure Medicare’s long-term solvency, and in 2017 and 2018 he and his wife, Jill, avoided nearly $400,000 in Medicare taxes themselves. Embracing the current proposals to raid Medicare again to expand the welfare state will make the program’s problems worse.”

Mr. Jacobs continued: “’Don’t tell me what you value,’ Mr. Biden says regularly in his speeches. ‘Show me your budget and I will tell you what you value.’ That’s what’s called revealed preferences. From Mr. Biden on to the left, Democrats’ actions reveal that they value Medicare less for what it means to seniors and more as a means to expand government.”

Excellent piece by Mr. Jacobs. Seniors deserve better. Fellow senior Mr. Biden should be ashamed.

• Saul Anuzis is President of the 60 Plus, the American Association of Senior Citizens.  Jim Martin is the Association’s Founder and Chairman.