Supercommittee Democrats quietly floated details late Wednesday of a $2.3 trillion tax-and-cut proposal that includes $400 billion in Medicare and Medicaid reductions, but also clears the way for a new physician payment formula.
The framework — a counterproposal to one offered by Republicans on Monday — calls for $350 billion in savings from “Medicare reforms,” including $250 billion from the providers and another $100 billion from beneficiaries.
There was the opportunity for Democrats to go into the 2012 election with a clear and important distinction between themselves and the Republicans. The Republicans have already come out for cutting Medicare benefits so the Democrats could have taken a firm and very popular stance against cutting Americans’ Medicare benefits.
Instead, Democrats chose to totally throw away this potential political advantage. In the 2012 election the American people will now choose between two parties that want to cut your Medicare benefits. The fact that one claims to want to cut your Medicare benefits slightly less will be little comfort and make little difference to many regular voters.
The Democrats have now stated repeatedly that they want Medicare benefits to be cut. Ironically the only ones indirectly protecting Medicare benefits right now is the Republicans simply because they don’t want to reach a deal on taxes.
No wonder young people upset about income inequality are occupying the streets instead of rallying to elect Democrats. Americans need something better than just austerity lite.