Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ben Nelson Said WHAT on Medicare?

At a town hall meeting in Lincoln yesterday, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) indicated that he would oppose extension of the payroll tax holiday due to expire in December.  He said that while he would like to support extending the payroll tax cut, “all you’re doing is taking money that otherwise would help Medicare and Social Security.”

This comment was a curious statement to make, as non-partisan budget analysts and even President Obama have admitted that the health care law the Senator voted for uses more than $500 billion in Medicare funds to pay for new entitlements:

  • Medicare actuary Foster has written that the Medicare provisions in Obamacare “cannot be simultaneously used to finance other Federal outlays (such as the coverage expansions under the PPACA) and to extend the [Medicare] trust fund, despite the appearance of this result from the respective accounting conventions.”
  • The Congressional Budget Office agreed with the Medicare actuary, writing that the Medicare provisions in Obamacare “would not enhance the ability of the government to pay for future Medicare benefits.”
  • President Obama in an interview with Fox News last year admitted that “You can’t say that you are saving on Medicare and then spending the money twice.”

Last year then-Speaker Pelosi famously said we had to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.  Some might suggest that Democrats need to take the Speaker’s advice, to rediscover how Obamacare uses more than half a trillion dollars in Medicare savings – not to improve Medicare’s fiscal situation, but to create new and unsustainable entitlements.