This morning, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and health care provocateur Betsy McCaughey took their health care debate to MSNBC’s “Morning Meeting” hosted by Dylan Ratigan. In a heated exchange that lasted almost 15 minutes, the two sparred over Medicare cuts, the public option, and health care spending.
Weiner insisted that a robust public plan could restore competition to concentrated health care markets and reduce health care costs by an estimated $150 billion. McCaughey, the architect of the false “death panels” myth, continued her scare-mongering campaign against seniors: “The elephant in the room here is that all these bills are devastating care for seniors and the Baucus bill is the deadliest of all!”
Throughout the interview, McCaughey was constantly on the defensive, complaining that she was being shut out of the debate. “Anthony, you are ignorant about health insurance,” she said, before insisting to Ratigan that “this will go down in history as one of the most browbeating interviews in television history.” “I hope that it does,” Ratigan replied. “And maybe you’ll learn at that point then to answer questions as opposed to go on television and cast accusations.” Watch a compilation:
After repeatedly refusing to explain how she would reduce health care spending, McCaughey finally proposed “inching up the eligibility age [for Medicare] one month a year until 2043 when the eligibility age reaches 70.” That could “put Medicare on a firm footing without cutting care for Medicare recipients.”
“That was a solid answer to your question,” Weiner exclaimed facetiously. “Take away 100% of Medicare for people 65 to 70.” According to the Congressional Budget Office, which McCaughey credited with the idea, eliminating “younger beneficiaries” from the Medicare program would do little to control costs. “Outlays for Medicare would [still] rise to 7.7 percent of GDP by 2050,” the CBO concluded.
Weiner pounced on McCaughey’s solution, which could cut as many as 11.3 million seniors from Medicare. “You want to gut Medicare,” Weiner told McCaughey. “You just said on this show you wanted to cut Medicare for everyone 65 to 70, isn’t that right?”