Our report showing that McCain’s health care plan would lead to Medicare and Medicaid cuts has come under criticism. Our defense of the paper’s methodology and conclusions can be found here, here and here. Below is our response to the McCain campaign.
The McCain campaign is playing a shell game, and we are surprised at how uncritically it has been treated by the media. The onus is on the McCain campaign to make its policies square with the facts. That a discrepancy exists between the two reveals a problem with their policy positions, not our analysis.
Here are the facts: accounting for the tax exclusion rollback McCain has proposed, his health care plan has a budget hole of $1.3 trillion over ten years, according to highly-regarded independent analysts. McCain’s plan will be budget-neutral, according to the McCain campaign, and McCain will balance the budget in his first term, according to McCain’s own statements and his campaign’s website.
On October 6, the Wall Street Journal reported: “John McCain would pay for his health plan with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, a top aide said, in a move that independent analysts estimate could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion over 10 years to the government programs.” In fact, the cuts could be much larger if they are used to help pay for McCain’s corporate tax cuts, as a McCain aide told the Washington Post they would be back in July.