Alexander Warns of Half Trillion Dollar Cut to Medicare in Democratic Health Care Plan

Posted on November 4, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the Senate: • “Medicare is very important to about 40 million Americas and to a lot of other Americans who are about to be of the age to depend on Medicare. To get it down to a nutshell, here is what all of the plans that we’ve seen so far from the Democratic side proposed to do: take about a half trillion dollars over 10 years from Medicare. In other words, cut Medicare by a half trillion dollars, not to put in the Medicare program to make it solvent, but to start a big, new entitlement program called government-run health insurance.” • “We want to know two things about this health care bill by the time it gets to us. We want to be able to read it and we want to know what it costs. And what that means is it should go up on the Internet for at least 72 hours, the complete text—that’s what the letter from the Democratic senators, as well as Senator Bunning in the amendment he offered, said. And we want a complete formal estimate from the Congressional Budget Office about what the bill costs, because the American people are significantly worried about health care reform. It is supposed to reduce costs, reduce your premiums, reduce your government’s debt, but, instead, everything that we’ve heard about it so far makes it look like it’s more likely to increase the cost of your premiums and to increase your taxes. • “One thing we know for sure is that it will cut your Medicare.” • “We wait with great interest to see what the bill the Senate Majority Leader will bring from behind his closed doors—when he takes the 1,500-page Finance Committee bill and the nearly 900-page Health Committee bill here in the Senate and puts them together I assume with the 2,000-page bill in the House. All of these bills depend on cutting Medicare for about half their costs. Any reductions in Medicare, any savings in Medicare, any elimination of waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, should go to Medicare. We shouldn’t be cutting grandma’s Medicare to spend money on someone else. We ought to save money on grandma’s Medicare to spend on grandma, because grandma’s Medicare is going broke.” • “Republicans aren’t scaring seniors about Medicare; these bills are scaring seniors about Medicare and they are right to be worried.”