Acknowledging that federal lawmakers are “running out of time” on the debt-ceiling negotiations, President Barack Obama in a news conference on Friday said he's still pushing for a big deal and mentioned a few healthcare entitlement reforms under consideration in a deficit-reduction package.
Obama outlines options on Medicare
“You can envision a situation for somebody in my position—me having to pay a little bit more on premiums or co-pays—would be appropriate, and that could make a difference,” the president said regarding means-testing for Medicare beneficiaries.
Obama emphasized that leaders should make sure that current Medicare beneficiaries “as much as possible are not affected,” but that it's important to consider changes in later years to ensure the program's sustainability. “What we're not willing to do is restructure the program in the ways coming out of the House where we voucherize the program,” Obama said, adding that modest modifications could yield trillions in entitlement savings while maintaining the integrity of those programs.
“Including on the provider side: I think it's important to keep in mind that drug companies are still doing very well through the Medicare program,” Obama said. “Even though we made more drugs available at a cheaper price, there's more work to be done there.”
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