“I think we’ve got to do Medicare,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It’s going to pull this economy down. We’ve got to deal with it. And I think most rational people, including Democrats, realize that we’ve got to make some cuts or deal with Medicare. But, you know, let’s have some means testing."When lawmakers go on these national cable shows they really need to go in knowing what in the hell they're talking about when what they're talking about is so critical to the livelihood of so many American citizens.
Jared Bernstein, take it away:
Medicare is means tested. You might want it to be more so (the current means test only hits the top 5% of beneficiaries by income), but as my colleague Paul Van de Water points out, it already is…means-tested, that is.Yup, people who have higher incomes pay higher Medicare premiums already. Under Obamacare, they're also paying more for their Medicare prescription drug benefit. Squeezing whatever you can out of Medicare and pretending it's only the more wealthy people who suffer might have some appeal. But that's not what this is about. It's about what Bernstein says it is: "once you shift a program from universal coverage to means testing, it’s increasingly vulnerable to deeper means testing until it eventually becomes a poverty program which everyone wants to get rid of."
When Republicans "helpfully" offer up an idea like means testing to Democrats, they're not doing it in a true spirit of bipartisan compromise. They just don't do that. It's not their game. When in the hell will Democrats (Sen. Dick Durbin, we're looking at you) understand that Republicans don't care about the deficit, don't care about compromise? They care about destroying the good stuff government does. Period.