Democrats win $400B in Medicare cuts

By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times
December 4, 2009

In the first showdown over the Senate health care bill, Democrats on Thursday successfully defended more than $400 billion in Medicare cuts, turning back a potentially lethal stab at the measure.

On a 58-42 vote, the Senate defeated an effort by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, to send the bill back to a committee where lawmakers would have had to drop the cuts in Medicare payments and instead find another way to pay for the bill, which overhauls the nation’s health insurance system and guarantees coverage for tens of millions of people who lack insurance.

“This isn’t the first time defenders of our broken health care system have tried to scare seniors, and it won’t be the last,” said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat and chairman of the Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee…

…In addition to the Medicare cuts vote, the Senate adopted an amendment that gives the government authority to eliminate co-payments for women’s health screenings such as mammograms – and along the way turned back a Republican effort to try to stop the government from relying on task force recommendations to decide what services should be covered…

…Democrats argued that the cuts – totaling $464 billion over 10 years – would not affect the basic services guaranteed by Medicare, and instead would squeeze insurance companies and hospitals that are overcharging for the level of service they are providing…

The entire article is here.

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