Coburn/Lieberman Plan Cuts Medicare To Pay For Tax Cuts For The Wealthy

June 28, 2011 4:27 pm ET — Jamison Foser

Joe Lieberman

Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) have unveiled a plan to cut more than $600 billion from Medicare, half of which would be used to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. The Coburn/Lieberman plan "would redirect half of that savings in the first 10 years to the Medicare Part A Trust Fund to extend the solvency of the Medicare Part A program. The remainder of the savings would be used for deficit reduction." 

That's $300 billion in Medicare cuts — via higher premiums and an increase in the retirement age — for deficit reduction. But saying the money will go to "deficit reduction" is rather vague — what it really means is that it will be dedicated to paying for other things Coburn and Lieberman are unwilling to sacrifice. Lieberman, for example, favored the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Coburn wants to retain tax breaks for massive oil companies that are already among the most profitable businesses in the world. The choice isn't between health care for seniors and deficit reduction — it's between health care for seniors and tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil companies (not to mention wars). Coburn and Lieberman have apparently decided that health care for seniors isn't their priority.