Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) said Thursday that a “main prong of the Senate’s healthcare compromise is a cause for concern,” The Hill reports.
Conrad praised part of the proposal, which would allow Americans to participate in a system similar to what’s available to federal employees, but cautioned, “there is another part of it I’m much less certain of, and that is the notion of expanding Medicare to people from 55-64.”
The Budget chairman said that while the Medicare proposal raises a lot of questions marks, he’s waiting (along with other senators) for an analysis of the program by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
“We have not yet seen the CBO analysis of that, but I would be concerned the CBO analysis would show that would have an adverse affect on Medicare,” he said. “But I’m interested in the evidence, what CBO will tell us. I think common sense would say you have to ask a lot of questions about that proposal.”
POLITICO has a similar sentiment from Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said Thursday that she does not support the Medicare buy-in because it would “aggravate an already-serious problem” with the program – the low reimbursement rates for hospitals and doctors.
“I have serious concerns,” Snowe told reporters. “I just think that is the wrong direction to take.”
As well as Joe Lieberman (ID-CT).
Another key undecided moderate, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Vt.), said Thursday that his level of unease with the Medicare buy in is also rising.
“I am increasingly troubled about the proposal,” Lieberman said. “I am worried about what impact it will have on the Medicare program’s fiscal viability and also what effect it will have on the premiums paid by people benefiting from Medicare now and whether the whole thing is viable. If you separate it from Medicare, it will be an extremely expensive program.”
(credit image – associated press)