Despite previously insisting that their health plan would allow Americans to keep their current insurance coverage, the McCain campaign has now admitted that it would slash $1.3 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years.
McCain’s cuts echo a 1995 effort to “cut $270 billion, or 14 percent, from projected Medicare spending” over seven years and force millions of elderly recipients into managed health care programs or HMOs. As Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich admitted, “We don’t want to get rid of it in round one because we don’t think it’s politically smart,” he said. “But we believe that it’s going to wither on the vine because we think [seniors] are going to leave it voluntarily.”
Shifting individuals out of Medicare/Medicaid/Employer insurance is the goal of McCain health reform. In fact, throughout his career, McCain has regularly supported slashing Medicare benefits and limiting eligibility:
- McCain has voted to cut, restrict, or underfund Medicare at least 28 times.
- McCain voted to restrict access to Medicare at least two times.
- In 1997, McCain voted in favor of raising the eligibility age for receiving Medicare from 65 to 67 with the change being phased in between 2003 and 2027.
- McCain voted against ensuring Medicare’s future by opposing efforts to extend its solvency at least 9 times.
McCain’s latest proposal will undermine Medicare and Medicaid benefits, increase costs, and further burden state budgets. But for the senator, this is no bother. In fact, his $1.3 trillion trim compliments his overall health care philosophy. Remember, McCain believes that Americans use too much health care. His solution to the health care crisis is simple: push Americans into the individual health insurance market and leave them alone to pay their health care bills.
UPDATE: During a conference call, former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) observed that McCain’s proposal “would cut Medicare and Medicaid by over 20% over the next 10 years…it would dramatically reduce the quality of health care for older Americans and the poorest and sickest Americans while at the same time adding to the burden of state governments”