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Painting a Grim Picture: Deficit-Reduction Proposals that Hurt People with Medicare

September 2011

As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the “supercommittee,” moves forward to its November 23rd deadline, determining what deficit-reduction proposals mean for people with Medicare is only possible if we understand the financial pressures already faced by Medicare consumers and the vital role that Medicare and Medicaid play in meeting their many health care needs. While some proposals may seem promising in name, with terms like “reform” and “flexibility” used to describe them, the underlying reality is that they dramatically cut Medicare and Medicaid. These proposals do not save money by making the health care system more efficient, but by shifting extra costs to people with Medicare—those who are least able to afford those costs—and by limiting their access to medical care when they need it.