Alexander: Democratic Health Plan Will Cut "Grandma’s Medicare" by Half a Trillion Dollars

Says Spending Medicare Cuts on a New Program “Is Not Real Health Care Reform”

Posted on December 1, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate: • “What Senator McCain is basically saying with his amendment is, don’t cut Grandma’s Medicare to pay for someone else’s insurance.” • “If you find savings by cutting waste, fraud and abuse in Grandma’s Medicare, spend those savings on Grandma. Medicare’s trustees have said to us that there are $38 trillion in unfunded liabilities for the Medicare program, and that the program will start going bankrupt between 2015 and 2017. According to the Medicare trustees, ‘We need timely and effective action to address Medicare’s challenges.’ I don’t think the Medicare trustees were thinking that the timely and effective action we could take to keep Medicare from going broke was to take $465 billion out of it and spend it on some new program.” • “Rather than take my word for it, let’s go to a Wall Street Journal headline: `Some Health Premiums to Rise.’ That means the cost of your insurance is going up. So my question is, why would we spend $2.5 trillion over ten years, cut Medicare, raise taxes and run up the debt to raise some Americans’ health care premiums? I thought the whole exercise was to lower the cost of health care premiums.” • “This bill is historic in thinking we could take a system that affects almost all Americans and change it all at once. Why don’t we instead go step by step to re-earn the trust of the American people? Republicans will be making those proposals on the Senate floor this month and next month and as long as it takes to get real health care reform. Cutting Grandma’s Medicare by half a trillion dollars and spending it on a new program at a time when Medicare is going broke is not real health care reform.” A full transcript of Alexander’s remarks is available upon request.