UPDATE: In the time since I wrote this post on Tuesday, Congress has reached what is being called a “tentative” deal to extend not just the payroll tax holiday but unemployment benefits and make the “doc fix” which prevents a cut in reimbursements to physicians who accept Medicare. A vote tentatively set for Friday. Here’s one news story about it.
Two relatively big pieces of news out of Washington this week: President Barack Obama’s budget and the Republican so-called “cave” on extension of the payroll tax cut. There are aspects of each that affect elders so let’s take them one at a time.
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S BUDGET
On one hand, there is hardly any point in parsing Obama’s budget since it will be mangled by the Republicans in Congress. So why not wait until some of the dust has settled? Well, because it gives us a bit of a sense of his positions on important issues although they may be politically motivated.
Overall, within this new budget, the president is on the side of elders in regard to Social Security and Medicare. There are no cuts to the two programs but it does call for means testing and increasing Medicare premiums for higher income recipients.
This is a dangerous game because there is always downward income creep due to inflation so that lower and lower income levels are subject to the higher premiums and it’s awfully hard to change such regulations once they are in place.
There are some other good and bad points for the two big elder programs in the proposed budget and I’ll go over those in coming days. But considering that Republicans want massive cuts to both programs, the president has held fairly firm and I appreciate this statement on