Dem's super committee plan includes $400 billion in Medicare cuts: report

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | October 26, 2011
The Democratic half of the 12-member "super committee" has apparently cooked up a plan to cut the deficit by $2 to $3 trillion, partly through a massive cut to Medicare, with the pain felt equally by health care providers and beneficiaries.

Reuters says unnamed congressional aides have revealed the first taste of the so-far secret plan by the lawmakers, charged with devising a strategy to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. The committee's plan is due just before Thanksgiving.

According to Reuters, the Democrats' proposal includes an equal mix of revenue increases and spending cuts, with about $400 billion hacked out of Medicare. It also boasts $200 to $300 billion in new stimulus spending.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that the plan, details of which remain sketchy, includes between $400 and $500 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and that the revenue increases come through tax code changes.

Reuters and the WSJ both say Republican lawmakers, who make up half of the 12-member committee, appeared to balk at the plan. At least one Democrat, Rep. James Clyburn, also had misgivings about the Medicare cuts, according to Reuters.

The committee has until Nov. 23 to hash out an agreed package that cuts $1.2 trillion from the budget, which would then be voted on around Christmas. If they fail to reach a plan, it would trigger automatic, across-the-board $1.2 trillion in spending cuts.

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