Republican to seniors: “You’re going to die sooner” with healthcare reform

December 1, 2009

Republican Senator Tom Coburn doesn’t mince words. He was crystal clear about what he thinks ofcoburn1 healthcare reform being debated in the Senate, saying to seniors: “I have a message for you: You’re going to die sooner.”

Senators are debating an amendment by Republican Senator John McCain that would send the bill back to the Senate Finance Committee with instructions to strike the Medicare cuts from the bill.  Democrats defended the legislation saying the proposed spending cuts would not reduce seniors’ health benefits.

“I’d like to once and for all lay to rest this false claim that the pending bill is going to ‘hurt seniors’ and it is going to hurt providers and it’s going to be this long parade of horribles that the other side likes to mention,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said.

“It is totally, patently untrue, the claims that they are making,” he argued.

The bill calls for more than $400 billion in spending cuts for Medicare over 10 years. A big chunk of the money comes from reducing subsidies for Medicare Advantage, which provides health services for the elderly through private insurers.

baucusBaucus argued that Medicare spending would continue to grow, but at a slightly slower pace. The bill also seeks to  achieve Medicare savings by rewarding quality of care instead of the quantity of services and treatments.

The Senate debate is expected to last for at least three weeks and Republicans, who solidly oppose the Democratic-written bill,  plan a number of amendments focused on the Medicare spending cuts.

They argue any savings should be used to shore up the program’s finances not to pay for the healthcare reform which seeks to expand medical coverage to millions of uninsured people. Democrats argue the bill will improve benefits for seniors and improve the financial integrity of the program.

For more Reuters coverage on healthcare reform click here:

Photo credits: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Senator Tom Coburn during a Senate hearing)  Reuters/Hyungwon Kang (Senator Max Baucus gestures during a press conference)


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Senator Coburn knows better than that. He has been bought out by the insurance companies. The $500 billion in medicare cuts are from subsidies to the insurance companies that were started during the Bush administration in an attempt to start the process of privatizing medicare. Just what the seniors don’t need is for medicare to be privatized so they will have to fight with the insurance companies to get their claims paid. Don’t mess with our traditional medicare. Keep it strong by taking back that $500 billion from the insurance companies and putting it back into traditional medicare, so seniors won’t have to deal with insurance companies. We shouldn’t have to fight to get claims paid like we did before we were on medicare. AARP and The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare both support reform because they understand it. I may be a senior, but I wasn’t born yesterday. Give us seniors some credit. Not all of us have been fooled!

Posted by Donald | Report as abusive

If any person thinks this bill is not going to cut into, and reduce benefits from Medicare, then I have a Bridge in Brooklyn that I would like to sell at a greatly reduced price. As usual, the politicians will make you believe that they have the cure without taking any dollars from anywhere. Check out Social Security. Many years ago this was a great idea. Now, it is merely another piggy bank for the greedy politicians to take from. Yes, I do agree the Country needs a medical benefits makeover. However, taking it from the most vulnerable group of our citizens, the seniors, seems to be par for the course. They intend to use the Medicare Monies to fund illegals, welfare people, and those that simply choose not to hold a job, from the people who originally paid for the medicare system… The Seniors in this country!. Shame on all of you politicians who have their own medical plans already. Give up some of your lifetime benefits. It only hurts a little!

Posted by Harold Louis | Report as abusive

Not only should Coburn know better than that about the health care bill, he should know better about “partial birth” abortion and abortion in general since he’s an OB/GYN. He should know that there are indeed instances where the developing fetus will be stillborn because it’s developing without a brain and thus an abortion is indicated as the best medical procedure to perform so that the woman doesn’t have to go through with delivering a stillbirth and can begin recovering sooner for another try. But don’t let science get in the way of politics, doctor.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

Donald as soon as you started advocating AARP you blew your cover,they intentionally sided with Obama for their own interest.To suggest in one breath the hypocrisy of Coburn with his links to the insurance industry and in the next breath putting foreword AARP with their affiliated to the insurance industry this is a major contradiction.I have friends who WERE former members of AARP you try to tell them how accommodating they were on the occasion they needed to get permission for treatment,no recommendation for AARP from them.Would you care to mention how many of their senior management are former democratic party staffers?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

To Donald: Out of the 500 billion Dems are cutting from Medicare, only about 180 billion will be from Medicare Advantage, the private insurance program you mention. The other 320 billion will be cut from hospitals, doctors, hospice services,nursing homes. If you think cutting 500 billion from medicare just as Baby Boomers start to flood into the system is not going to result in rationing of care and closing of some rural hospitals you are sadly mistaken. Doctors are already starting to turn away Medicare patients because treating them costs them money. The gist is that seniors are going to pay more for their care so younger poor can have a new entitlement. Democrats are hitting Medicare for 320 billion dollars, aside from medicare advantage cuts, to do this. OR they are BSing on cutting medicare when they really will add the 320 billion to our already massive deficit because they know they will back down on cutting providers because they know doctors will simply quit medicare. Plumbers make much more per hour than doctors do from medicare. Cut it more and they will quit in droves. Congress should reign in insurance companies abuses, set up task forces to cut bllions in fraud from Medicare, stop paying for power chairs, stop paying $7,000 for $700 oxygen concentrators…. You get my drift. Medicare has 29 trillion in unfunded liabilities, will go bust in 2017, yet Dems are raiding it to create another enitlement program!! Oh, now there’s some brilliant thinking.

Posted by E Harr | Report as abusive

These are not decision which should be made by anyone but the Dr. and patient; that’s why “KILL THE BILL” is the only just course!

Posted by Paullette | Report as abusive

Let’s look at the “substance” of Coburn’s rhetoric. For one thing, the line about $2.5 trillion is ridiculous, and has already been debunked. For another, the notion that cost savings from Medicare will lead to the premature deaths of America’s seniors is both blisteringly stupid and completely insane.Back in September, Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida caused quite a stir. The freshman Democrat had the audacity to argue, on the House floor no less, that the conservative approach to health care is a joke: “Don’t get sick. That’s what the Republicans have in mind. And if you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly.”The GOP and its allies were outraged. The media held Grayson up as an example of incivility in our politics. He made it sound, the argument went, as if Republican policies are literally life threatening. The remarks, conservatives said, crossed a line of decency — no one should accuse their rivals of promoting lethal health care policies.I can only assume, then, that Republican officials and their allies are fighting for the microphone to condemn Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who returned to the macabre as part of the debate over health care reform.Nope…But this is the state of the debate. After eight months of hearings, debates, town halls, reports, committee votes, interviews, and analyses, we still have a leading Republican senator announcing on the Senate floor that health care reform will cause seniors to “die sooner.”If this gets one-tenth as much attention as Grayson’s story, I’ll be very impressed. If even one of the GOP officials who called on Grayson to apologize wants to defend Coburn’s garbage, I’d love to hear the spin.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

With whats happening in this country, just maybethat’s not such a bad alternative. chas

Posted by chas | Report as abusive

Now that we are finding out what is really in this bill, it scares the heck out of us. Is it just me or do we have an agenda to let our mothers and grandmothers die so we can make room for more illegal immigrants?Is anyone watching out for American citizizens any more? O am a lifelong Democrats but will support the Republicans that stop this bill.

Posted by Julie B | Report as abusive

We can only hope that most of them are congressional Republicans!

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive

Back in September, Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida caused quite a stir. The freshman Democrat had the audacity to argue, on the House floor no less, that the conservative approach to health care is a joke: “Don’t get sick. That’s what the Republicans have in mind. And if you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly.”Right-die, get out of the way. let’s get om with the insurance companys financing my reelection

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive

americans (i am) are soooooo gullible when it comes to scare tactics. and the conservative right is so very good at stoking the fire.a year in and not one thing, NOT ONE, that the republican fear monger association promised you has come true.DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and then get a life. and no, unsolicited emails from people with “titles” is not research. neither is someone’s “opinion” just because they’re talking into a microphone. get the document in question. read it. then thumb your nose at the liar who got your blood pressure up. best book ever, “lies, and the lieing liars who tell them”.

Posted by gene | Report as abusive

Most of the seniors I know are more worried about how the young will stay healthy and work. They are are disturbed by the staggering number of young people who don’t have health care. How does one sustain an economy capable of providing for the elderly when the working population is sick and unhealthy? More and more of people are becoming disabled at earlier ages. Some are even dying. While the causes are many, access to quality health care will keep people healthy, able to work longer and lead more productive lives. We have money for war, why not for keeping the American people healthy?

Posted by eddieblack | Report as abusive