Grassley Questions Administration Claim on Medicare Solvency

Posted August 2, 2010 at 1:57pm

Updated: 4:24 p.m.

Senate Finance ranking member Chuck Grassley on Monday panned a White House report that claims the new health care reform law would extend Medicare solvency by a dozen years, saving the program $8 billion over the next two years and $418 billion by 2019.

The Iowa Republican was reacting to a report unveiled by the administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services contending that the health care reform law would ensure that the Medicare trust fund remains solvent through 2029. According to the report, the CMS examined “selected” cost-saving provisions that were implemented or will be implemented “very soon.”

“The White House continues to try to persuade people that cutting more than half a trillion dollars from Medicare to fund an unsustainable new entitlement program is somehow a good thing for Medicare beneficiaries,” Grassley said in a prepared statement. “Today’s new CMS report and the Andy Griffith ad campaign are the latest examples of how the Administration is telling only part of the story.”

Republicans have argued that the health care law’s $500 billion cut to Medicare further jeopardizes the financial viability of the popular government-administered health insurance program for seniors — not the other way around. The political battle over health care reform has continued apace since the law was enacted in late March and is likely to be a major component of the fall campaign.

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) defended the report, saying it was proof that the health care law is generating the promised savings to federal coffers while also protecting Medicare, as Democrats vowed it would.

“Today’s report shows us that the new health care law is beginning to generate significant savings in Medicare as it is implemented by giving doctors the tools to better coordinate with their patients and with each other, by modernizing the program and by fighting waste, fraud and abuse,” Baucus said in a prepared statement.