Republican to seniors: “You’re going to die sooner” with healthcare reform
Republican Senator Tom Coburn doesn’t mince words. He was crystal clear about what he thinks of 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.
Baucus 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.
Photo credits: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Senator Tom Coburn during a Senate hearing) Reuters/Hyungwon Kang (Senator Max Baucus gestures during a press conference)