The Ed Show | November 30, 2012
>>> show." thanks for watching tonight. republicans want democrats to do their dirty work when it comes to medicare . we know president obama offered $400 billion in cuts to medicare and other entitlement programs over the next ten years. here's andrea mitchell trying to get an answer from jason shabbets on where he has a problem with it.
>> is your problem that it's not specified? or do you have to produce a laundry list before he comes up with his?
>> that's what's unfortunate. speaker boehner is on the right track. i think he's shown a willingness to talk about things that we haven't been able to talk about before. they need to sit down and hash this out.
>> isn't that interesting. republicans won't answer the direct question because these aren't the kinds of cuts they are looking for. if an interview, mitch mcconnell offered his wish list. higher medicare premiums for the wealthy americans and an increase in the medicare eligibility age. he wants to slow the cost of living increases on social security . social security is off the table. on medicare , though, one part of the president's savings would come from increasing premiums to the wealthiest americans so there might be some agreement there. but raising the eligibility age for medicare recipients is an absolute nonstarter. the idea is unpopular and it's also inefficient because it increases the cost to seniors without creating much savings to the government at all. here's the bottom line in all of this. house republicans have voted for paul ryan 's budget twice. which turns medicare into a voucher program. that's really what they want to do. if they had the power, that's where they would go. the idea is deeply unpopular with the american people in polls. and that has been shown time and time again e. republicans want these kinds of cuts, but they would rather pin it on president obama than to take the blame. i say bring it on. it does pencil out. let's turn to dr. zeke emanuel, chair of medical ethics and health policy at university of pennsylvania and one of the architects of the affordable care act , which is now obama care. thank you for being with us tonight. sort this out for us. the $400 billion on the table with obama care or with medicare that the republicans deny cuts. who is telling the truth here?
>> well, the real issue is whether you're cutting things to beneficiaries or using those cuts to really transform the system to make it more modern. and i think as they did in the campaign, they are trying to say this will harm beneficiaries. but you can make cuts without harming beneficiaries. we released a report where we had $385 million in cuts to medicare and without taking it out of beneficiaries. .
>> so this is a valid proposal of savings of $400 billion, but republicans deny that.
>> the president has put on a bold proposal. the important thing i would say is, there's one way of cutting. you just whack the system. take money out. make what you pay the doctors or hospitals less. but the real interesting and important thing is to try to transform the system going forward so that we're not spending increases well beyond inflation or the growth in gdp. that's going to be the key.
>> so part of the transformation here would be to allow medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices the same as veteran programs?
>> that's one possibility. there's various ways to bring drug prices down.
>> what would it do? how much money?
>> i'm not exactly sure what you could get, but we know, for example, there's over $100 billion by getting payment for drugs from medicare beneficiaries who are e eligible for beneficiaries eligible for medicaid instead of the part d program.
>> dr. emanuel, what happens if we don't have an agreement in washington and we go off the fiscal cliff? what happens to medicare ? what happens to the beneficiaries?
>> well, we're going to have a very big whack at the system. the important point is it's not going to be strategic. that's not a very good thing. it's not just medicare benefit beneficiaries. in the sequestration, lots of other programs get hit. so you've got to be very careful, here, plus the republicans constantly say we don't want to become like greece. what's driving off the fiscal cliff look like? it makes us look completely irresponsible as if we can't control our own spending and put in order some priorities.
>> so some health care will be suffering?
>> that's absolutely true. we want to incentive doctors ask hospitals to keep people well. not to just do procedures. and that's the key to really transforming medicare .
>> i want to show you a map of the states that are refusing to implement the insurance exchanges. it's rather interesting. the other states are either implementing the exchanges or haven't decided to do that. if states don't decide to do it and the federal government comes in and sets up the exchange, isn't that kind of a win for the move towards universal health care because the infrastructure will be there?
>> i think it provides people an option whether governors are refusing or not. that's the most important thing so they can get access to insurance products. also i think, you know, it takes away the claim that the federal government is u surping health care . states forfeited their option to do something. i also think we're going to have an interesting set of experiments. california, colorado, maryland and other states that are going to do this well will show the country. can you save money? can you improve health outcomes? can you give people options they like? i would look to those particular states because they are really working on developing an exchange, running it well, the case of colorado interestingly enough, it's pretty bipartisan. you have people who want to make it work on both sides of the aisle. these could shame other states to come in. i also think we should be honest. out of 2014 , there may be some bumps in the road. but this is for the long haul. out of the gate, it may not be perfect. but lots of software is not perfect out of gate, but we use it and love it and it helps us. the same is going to be true here. it's going to help millions of people get better insurance products that are cheaper.
>> thanks for coming in.
>>> coming up, some senate democrat cans are trying to change the filibuster rule and house speaker john boehner issues a threat.
>>> republicans make their first post election attempt at immigration reform . and just what did they do? they voted to limit legal immigration. xavier bah is