Obama’s plan

Most of the news tonight about Obama’s $3 trillion deficit reduction plan focuses on the increased taxes on millionaires it includes. This is the so called “Buffett rule” that would prevent the ultra-rich from paying lower average tax rates than the middle class.

But what about his plan for health care programs? Here’s all I’ve seen so far, from the Wall Street Journal:

The president will also propose changes to Medicare and Medicaid that would reduce the deficit by about $300 billion over 10 years. […]

Mr. Obama won’t call for raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, an idea he was willing to agree to in negotiations this summer with House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio). His proposed changes to Medicare are expected to focus on cutting payments to providers of medical services, people familiar with the plan said.

Hitting providers and not beneficiaries–not directly anyway–is good electoral politics and challenging interest group politics. Beneficiaries (or those soon to be) will be relieved. However, the AHA and other health care industry leaders have already lined up behind increasing the Medicare eligibility age, setting up a direct confrontation with the president.

Details are expected to be announced on Monday.

UPDATE: Jon Cohn is reporting some different numbers over 10 years:

[In Obama’s] $2 trillion [deficit reduction plan], $1.5 trillion would come from higher taxes on the wealthy, particularly millionaires. The rest would come from spending cuts, including about $250 billion from Medicare. But the cuts would be similar in structure to the ones in the Affordable Care Act – i.e., they would be changes in the way the program pays for medical care, not changes in the benefits that individual seniors receive. Increasing the programs’ eligibility age from 65 to 67, one of the most controversial ideas the administration contemplated, is not part of this proposal.

Jack Tapper says the plan includes raising Medicare premiums on wealthier beneficiaries. “Part of this will include asking wealthier seniors who receive Medicare to pay higher premiums and accept fewer benefits — means-testing the program.”

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