U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today issued the following statement on reports that Senate Democrats are attempting to massively expand Medicare and Medicaid programs:
“There are frightful rumors that instead of creating a new government-run plan, the Democrats will simply add millions more Americans to two existing government-run programs: Medicare and Medicaid.
“How could we possibly add up to 34 million more Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 to Medicare at the same time we’re cutting a trillion dollars out of that program which, according to its trustees, is scheduled to go broke in five years?
“And, how could we even consider dumping millions more low-income Americans into state Medicaid programs when 50 percent of doctors already won’t see new Medicaid patients? On top of that, Congress is sending a huge bill for this to state governments already struggling with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In Tennessee, Governor Bredesen has already told us that a Medicaid expansion of this size would cost about $1.4 billion over five years. As a former governor, I believe with certainty that this would mean huge increases in state taxes, large college tuition hikes – or both.”