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Democrats may fight Obama on changes to Medicare

May 4, 2013 at 9:35 PM

WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- Many on the U.S. left are prepared to fight the Obama administration on proposed changes to Medicare, The Hill reports.

The president appears to back a merger of Part A and Part B of Medicare, combining the health plan's coverage of doctors and hospital care, the newspaper said Saturday. That would mean a single deductible and could mean Medicare beneficiaries who do not have hospital expenses, the majority, paying more out of pocket.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the plan would be a "net loss" for beneficiaries. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., called it "just shifting costs."

"There's a feeling that beneficiaries should be paying more for Medicare, but they already pay a lot out of pocket," Diane Lifsey, legislative representative with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, said. "That's why we oppose this idea. The proposals are meant to save money, but they just end up costing beneficiaries."

Obama said he would support merging Part A and Part B during meetings with Republicans in March. But he said it would have to be part of a "balanced" deal on deficit reduction.

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