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AARP Rejects Arbitrary Budget Rule

Reaction to Senate Budget Committee Mark-Up

In reaction to the Senate Budget Committee’s vote on the 2007 budget mark up, AARP Director of Advocacy David Sloane said,

"Although the Senate Budget Committee rejected the direct Medicare cuts included in the President’s fiscal year 2007 budget, the Committee’s resolution includes a dangerous provision that will ultimately hold Medicare and other mandatory federal programs hostage to rising health care costs.

The budget proposal would unfairly restrict new spending on just part of the budget—critical mandatory programs like Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid. If for two years in a row federal revenues are more than 45 percent of total Medicare spending, then any new direct spending would be subject to a point of order, unless the spending is offset or Medicare spending is reduced. These unbalanced limitations would apply to no other spending programs, nor would it apply to the revenue side of the ledger.

Whether it's the family budget or the federal budget, rapidly rising health care costs are today's real challenge. Increases in Medicare spending result in large part from the uncontrolled costs in a fragmented health care delivery system. Rather than address the need for comprehensive steps to control health care costs, the new limit simply proposes to make Medicare the scapegoat for the much larger challenges of skyrocketing health care costs throughout the system.

AARP urges the full Senate to reject this ill-advised provision."

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