The Spectacle Blog

Obama and Reid Both Double-Counted Medicare Cuts

By on 12.23.09 | 2:46PM

Earlier today, the Congressional Budget Office explained that the savings generated by Democrats' proposed Medicare cuts could either be used to finance the health care bill or to extend the solvency of Medicare, but could not do both at the same time.

Put another way, Democrats cannot claim that their bill would both strengthen Medicare and decrease the defict. But that's exactly what Democrats have been claiming over the the past week.

For instance, here was President Obama, during his Saturday remarks after Democrats secured the 60 votes needed to pass the health care bill:

This bill with strengthen Medicare and extend the life of the program.   Because it’s paid for and gets rid of waste and inefficiency in our health care system this will be the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade.  In fact, we just learned from the Congressional Budget Office that this bill will reduce our deficit by $132 billion over the first decade of the program, and more than one trillion dollars in the decade after that.

And here was Sen. Harry Reid, speaking on the Senate floor in advance of the key cloture motion at 1 a.m. on Monday morning:

“And it protects America’s oldest citizens by strengthening Medicare and extending its life by nearly a decade....

“This bill also strengthens our future by cutting our towering national deficit by as much as $1.3 trillion dollars over the next 20 years – that’s trillion, with a ‘T.’  It cuts the deficit more sharply than anything Congress has done in a long time.

Similar comments have been echoed by Democrats during the several weeks that the Senate has been debating health care -- it would have been nice to have the CBO memo back when it could have actually made a difference.

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