Two senior Senate Republicans have asked the Medicare trust fund trustees to include an alternative projection in their next report that shows the $413 billion that the healthcare reform law would delete from the program. The request is based on one of the major Republican criticisms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: that its projections showing a net increase in federal funds were based on unrealistic financial assumptions.
Senators request alternative projection
Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Budget Committee, sent a request to the trustees and senior Obama administration officials that was released March 22.
The Republicans' request seeks an alternate set of Medicare solvency projections that do not include planned spending reductions and payroll tax increases related to the program because those funds are already dedicated to providing new benefits outside of Medicare.
Such a projection would reflect the reality that those new taxes and savings, they wrote, cannot “both improve the government's ability to pay future Medicare benefits and finance new entitlement spending outside of Medicare.”
Last year's report—issued in August—projected that changes put in place by the healthcare reform law extended the solvency of the program by 12 years to 2029, based partly on expected spending cuts.
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