“Withering on the Vine” by Center for American Progress
October 09, 2008, 1:00am

Earlier this week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) admitted he would cut $1.3 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next ten years to finance his health care plan. McCain’s proposed cuts echo former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 1995 effort to cut $270 billion, or 14 percent, from projected Medicare spending over seven years and force millions of elderly recipients into managed health care programs or HMOs. As Gingrich admitted, “We don’t want to get rid of it [traditional Medicare] in round one because we don’t think it’s politically smart.” “But we believe that it’s going to wither on the vine because we think [seniors] are going to leave it voluntarily,” he added. Despite McCain’s career-long support for limiting Medicare benefits and eligibility, the campaign, is denying that its financing mechanism would undermine benefits. Appearing on CNN, McCain senior policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin implied that “McCain would save money in the federal health programs” by focusing on preventive care and weeding out $1.3 trillion worth of inefficiency and fraud. Nonetheless, a Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) analysis of the senator’s proposed cuts finds that McCain but also undermine Medicare and Medicaid benefits and eligibility and would force those with private insurance plans to pay more for health coverage out of pocket.

From The Progress Report