Saturday, April 30, 2011

Washington Post Gives GOP 'Two Pinocchios' For Claiming Privatized Medicare Like Health Care Members Of Congress Have

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By Brian Beutler

As long as self-anointed fact-checkers are dumping on Democrats for claiming the GOP plan to phase out Medicare and replace it with a private insurance system "ends" the program altogether, they might as well fact check the obverse claim. Specifically, the GOP's argument that their plan "saves" Medicare and provides seniors coverage "just like" the insurance members of Congress have.

The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler took on the task and concluded, "We think the reference to the health plan for members of Congress gives a false and misleading impression to ordinary people."

He gives the claim "Two Pinocchios."

Like other employers who provide health care to their employees, the federal government agrees to pick up a fixed percentage of their employees' premiums, no matter how quickly they grow. The GOP's Medicare plan, by contrast, would provide seniors a fixed amount, pegged to regular old inflation, which means over time, a larger and larger chunk of their already-expensive premiums will fall on them.

"Indeed, the main reason for making the proposal is to help bring down health-care costs for the federal government and thus get a handle on the deficit," Kessler wrote. "The CBO suggests this will be accomplished largely by shifting the costs onto beneficiaries"

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