If you haven't dropped by the new TPMCafe Drug Bill Debacle Blog, I strongly recommend you do. We've assembled a great team of posters with some really interesting topics popping up.
I'm still adjusting to this two blogs thing, so I'm going to go ahead and cross-post today's submission over at TPM after the jump.
But you know it's really bad when the government's own report paints this scenario:
Jan 30, 2006 -- 11:29:13 AM EST
Unfortunately there's no stopping it -- the bill already passed the Senate, and a similar bill squeaked through the House in December.
"In response to the new premiums, some beneficiaries would not apply for Medicaid, would leave the program or would become ineligible due to nonpayment," the Congressional Budget Office said in its report, completed Friday night. "C.B.O. estimates that about 45,000 enrollees would lose coverage in fiscal year 2010 and that 65,000 would lose coverage in fiscal year 2015 because of the imposition of premiums. About 60 percent of those losing coverage would be children."
The cuts are part of a spending package that pares down a host of programs, but the Medicare and Medicaid cuts make up half of the savings. It's this sudden willingness to reign in spending that exposes Republican's absolute ideological incoherence.
The New York Times quotes Charles Grassley (R-IA) claiming that Medicaid spending is growing at an unsustainable rate. The bill is projected to save about $138 billion, of which Medicaid/Medicare cuts would save $70 billion. But Medicare Part D is expected to cost $724 billion over the same time period, well over 10 times the amount of the cuts. Grassley voted for Medicare Part D -- but I guess he doesn't believe that $724 billion dollars is unsustainable spending growth. It seems to be a case of "if the constituency fits..."
This bill is something they can all feel proud of -- 60% of those losing coverage are children. It's for the sake of fiscal responsibility, after all.