Image via Wikipediaby Paul Krugman
"Don't cut Medicare. The reform bills passed by the House and Senate cut Medicare by approximately $500 billion. This is wrong." So declared Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, in a recent op-ed article written with John Goodman, the president of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
And irony died.
Now, Gingrich was just repeating the current party line. Furious denunciations of any effort to seek cost savings in Medicare — death panels! — have been central to Republican efforts to demonize health reform. What's amazing, however, is that they're getting away with it.
It's not just the fact that Republicans are now posing as staunch defenders of a program they have hated ever since the days when Ronald Reagan warned that Medicare would destroy America's freedom. Nor is it the fact that, as House speaker, Gingrich tried to ram through deep cuts in Medicare.
Even as Republicans denounce modest proposals to rein in Medicare's rising costs, they are seeking to dismantle the whole program. And the process would begin with cuts of about $650 billion over the next decade. Math is hard, but I do believe that's more than the roughly $400 billion (not $500 billion) in Medicare savings projected for the Democratic health bills.
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