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Senators debate extent of Medicare cuts

Dec. 9, 2012 at 1:11 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- A Republican U.S. senator said Sunday the pain of pending cuts to Medicare and other entitlement programs would be widespread.

Sen. Tim Coburn, R-Okla., said the only way to save Medicare would be to ensure there were sweeping reforms that included more "individual participation."

"The way to fix it is to control the costs," Coburn said on ABC's "This Week." "And the way to control the cost is to have more individual participation."

Coburn dismissed the idea that some segments of the Medicare community, as well as Medicaid and Social Security, could be spared. "Everybody in this country will have to participate in some discomfort if we're going to get out of this hole," he said.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., countered the GOP's glum outlook was based on their insistence that their wealthy supporters be protected from tax increases. "The only thing I hear, the only thing we see is middle-class families being asked over and over again to be the ones who have the burden in solving this problem," she said.

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