Many of the protesters showing up at this month's town hall meetings on health care reform are old enough to be on Medicare--or they're pretty close. They're also old enough to know better; here we have beneficiaries of a gigantic, successful federal health insurance program screaming at their legislators to keep the government out of health care.
Let's skip past the obvious irony and contradictions at the town halls, and instead focus on a substantive question: Would the health reform bill now taking shape really pose any kind of threat to Medicare recipients? Do seniors have a reason to feel threatened?
While we don't yet know what the final health reform bill will look like, the key components of importance to Medicare can be found in HR 3200, the bill passed by the House of Representatives. A dispassionate look at the bill suggests that health reform actually will be good for the Medicare program.
On the surface, the bill may look somewhat threatening because it calls for $538.5 billion in Medicare spending reductions over a 10-year period to fund overall reform. But while it sounds like a big number, the cuts being proposed won't hurt beneficiaries.
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