As leaders from both parties jockey for position in the ongoing debate over the fiscal cliff, Republicans have sought to label their Democratic counterparts as unwilling to compromise, disinterested in anything other than raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and on the whole not serious about tackling the nation’s long-term entitlement spending.
“I’m disappointed in where we are, and disappointed in what’s happened over the last couple weeks,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters. “And I would hope the White House would get serious as well.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he “burst out laughing” after seeing President Obama’s proposal and insisted that he should detail specific cuts to entitlements.
If Republicans want specifics, they know where to look. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner laid forth a detailed plan on Thursday containing proposals long held by the administration to both raise $1.6 trillion in additional revenue over the next 10 years and cut billions from Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs. On top of the $716 billion in savings included in the Affordable Care Act, in February, the administration detailed an estimated $360 billion in reductions by cutting back excessive provider reimbursements, securing more favorable drug rebates, and eliminating waste, redundancies, and inefficiencies. Obama has repeatedly claimed that those reductions are now on the table. Here is the detailed breakdown of that plan:
While the administration’s proposed cuts are designed to weed out inefficiencies within the health care system without impacting beneficiaries, the GOP’s plan — to the extent that it resembles Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposal — would to transform Medicare into a voucher program and shift the cost of health care to beneficiaries without lowering overall health care costs.