Tags: Tom Coburn | Medicare | Medicaid | Budget

Coburn: Medicare, Medicaid Must Be Part of Cuts

Sunday, 24 Apr 2011 11:05 AM

April 24 (Bloomberg) -- Medicare and Medicaid programs must be part of the U.S. effort to reduce the budget deficit, Senator Tom Coburn said.

“You can’t have Medicare out of the equation,” Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican and member of the Senate Budget Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program broadcast today. “You can’t have Medicaid out of the equation. To lead on this issue and create a false predicate that says we can solve our problems without addressing our entitlements hurts the country.”

As part of the debate on government spending, which includes completing a 2012 budget, President Barack Obama has offered the outlines of a plan to reduce the debt by $4 trillion over 12 years through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, has proposed cutting spending by $6 trillion over a decade in part by privatizing Medicare and capping Medicaid spending. Republicans reject Obama’s push for tax increases on the wealthiest Americans to help reduce debt.

Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and chairman of the budget committee, said on “Meet the Press” that the U.S. is “headed for a fiscal cliff” if it doesn’t address the deficit.

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