John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Expanding Medicare is a Bad Idea

Posted on December 14, 2009

Expanding Medicare Is A Bad Idea

In the political version of a Hail Mary pass, the Democrats last week announced a tentative agreement on a health care plan that was a complete departure from their earlier plans.

Instead of a public option, they would simply expand Medicare eligibility from 65 year olds to 55 year olds.

Sound reasonable, right?  Medicare is a popular program.  A little bit socialistic, but it gives people access to their doctors, and what the heck, it’s only money.

The left loves this idea.  Anthony Weiner, the one-time pretender to the throne of New York City, let the cat out of the bag when he said that it was first step to single-payer health care.

Someone once said that a gaffe in Washington is when someone mistakenly tells the truth.  And Weiner’s gaffe was exactly correct.

Joe Lieberman has now said that he can’t support such a plan.  Ben Nelson said the same.  Olympia Snowe agrees with them.

Why?  Because expanding Medicare would be a financial disaster.

Earlier this year when CBO analyzed a similar proposed expansion would "cause an immediate, fatal, death spiral from Day One" to Medicare.

The director of the Mayo Clinic saying it would accelerate "the financial ruin of hospitals and doctors across the country" because, he argues, Medicare underpays them.

Other analysts say that it would to higher taxes and eventually to a government takeover of the health care system.

And as Senator Judd Gregg, that erstwhile voice of reason pointed out, "Now Medicare is already broke, by the way,"said. "It's got a $38 trillion unfunded liability and we're going to add another 10 million people into Medicare? That makes no sense at all."

"Expanding Medicare is an unvarnished, complete victory for people like me," Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., told the Los Angeles Times. "It's the mother of all public options. We've taken something people know and expanded it."

That is exactly right, Mr. Weiner.  And that is why it ain’t gonna happen.

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