Nashville Public Radio - Capitol News Connection's Manuel Quinones & WPLN's Jacqueline Fellows
Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker says fixing Medicare is not getting enough attention in the health care reform debate.
He says Medicare could be insolvent by 2017, and he’s blasting Democrats for not fixing that problem.
The Senate Finance Committee health overhaul plan being discussed now includes hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare savings.
Supporters say those savings will come from better management and eliminating abuse.
Sen. Corker says that money should not be used on other government programs to cover the uninsured when there are questions about Medicare solvency.
“Instead of solving that, we are taking savings from Medicare to leverage a whole new entitlement. That just does not pass the common sense test in Tennessee.”
Corker was also critical of legislation to greatly expand Medicaid, the health care safety net for the poor. He says it would saddle states with huge expenses they can’t afford, especially in these tough economic times.
Tennessee’s other Republican Senator, Lamar Alexander, also spoke out against the Senate Finance proposal. On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office projected an $81 billion deficit reduction under the measure. Alexander issued a statement saying the analysis was an estimate of a concept, not a bill.
Governor Phil Bredesen estimates the Senate Finance bill would cost Tennessee $735 million.