SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

August 17, 2012

Undoing Obama's Medicare cuts may backfire on Romney

WASHINGTON — GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s new promise to restore the Medicare cuts made by President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law could backfire if he’s elected.

The reason: Obama’s cuts also extended the life of Medicare’s giant trust fund. By repealing them, Romney would move the program’s insolvency eight years closer, toward the end of what would be his first term in office.

Instead of running out of money in 2024, Medicare’s trust fund for inpatient care would go broke in 2016 without the cuts, according to estimates by the program’s own experts.

That could leave a President Romney little political breathing room to execute his own Medicare plan. Outside experts say it could force deeper cuts, and sooner.

The Romney campaign says there’s no problem with the candidate’s pledge.

“The idea that restoring funding to Medicare could somehow hasten its bankruptcy is on its face absurd,” said spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

Campaign officials say arcane federal accounting rules create a false sense of security about Medicare. They allow savings like Obama’s cuts to also count toward funding other programs or reducing the overall deficit.

“Gov. Romney’s plan is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reforms that control cost throughout the health care system and extend the solvency of Medicare,” Saul said. “He will then implement real entitlement reform that places Medicare on a sustainable long-term footing so that future generations of Americans will not have to worry whether the program will be there for them.”

But Obama’s cuts were not directly aimed at Medicare’s 48 million beneficiaries; instead they affect hospitals, insurers, nursing homes, drug companies and other service providers. Simply undoing the cuts would restore higher payments to those service providers. And that would cause Medicare to spend money faster.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Chism attorney wants 'youthful offender' indictments dismissed

    Philip Chism's attorney will argue that the state's "youthful offender" law, which requires that the Danvers teen be tried as an adult in last fall's rape and murder of his teacher, is unconstitutional.
    In documents filed Monday, defense attorney Denise Regan contends that the statute, enacted in 1996, creates two classes of children within the court system, distinguishing them based solely on the charge.

    July 29, 2014

  • Whale watching boat snagged by lobster trap rope

    BOSTON (AP) — They weren't castaways, but like the tourists on Gilligan's Island, a group of whale watchers expecting only a three-hour tour got much more after their boat was snagged by a lobster trap rope off Massachusetts and they were forced to spend a long night at sea.

    July 29, 2014

  • Market Basket store managers vow to resign

    Store managers and assistant managers at Market Baskets in the area signed petitions Monday declaring they would work only for Arthur T. Demoulas, no matter who buys the grocery chain. "It was a voluntary petition," Salem store manager Dave Webber sa

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • Former law student gets jail term for stealing jewels SALEM -- A former law student who prowled craigslist for people selling diamond jewelry, then robbed them, all while falsely claiming to be a cancer patient, was sent to jail Thursday. Jeffrey Rosenspan, 32, of Walpole, had 10 diamond rings -- as we

    July 29, 2014

  • sculpture Ipswich approaches gift of art cautiously, with good reason

    Art, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. Which is why politicians and public officials often seek to avoid making judgments on public art. A wrong decision can create a furor.

    That might explain the caution of Ipswich selectmen as resident Rick Silverman proposes to honor his late wife and grace the town with an elegant sculpture on the North Green. Treading lightly lest they offend or preemptively reject the offer, they voted last week to set up a board that will advise them on what is and what isn’t welcome in Ipswich’s public spaces.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos