Thursday, June 09, 2011

Another law the President is ignoring

Did you know that there was a federal law requiring the president to submit a plan to Congress about how to save Medicare if the Medicare trustees forecast that general revenues will be necessary for 45% of Medicare spending within seven years? The president is required to propose legislation to address the spending shortfalls in Medicare within 15 days of submitting his budget and Congress has to expedite consideration. This is part of the Medicare Reform Act of 2003.
If there is a medicare funding warning under section 801(a)(2) of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 made in a year, the President shall submit
to Congress, within the 15-day period beginning on the date of the
budget submission to Congress under subsection (a) for the succeeding
year, proposed legislation to respond to such warning.
As Karl Rove notes today in the WSJ, last year and this year Medicare's trustees have issued such a warning that that "threshold was in fact breached" and "a Presidential proposal is required by law" to respond, but the Democrats waived that requirement last year. Of course, the GOP hasn't issued a similar waiver this year.

But Obama hasn't issued any such proposal. He has no intention of actually trying to save Medicare or even to acknowledge that it's going broke. He'd prefer to use Medicare as a political weapon to attack Republicans supporting any reform proposal. Just as he doesn't offer a realistic budget except for the one that got zero votes in support, he prefers to pontificate and demagogue rather than propose his own solutions. Even when such a solution is mandated by law. It's just one more stinkin' limitation on presidential power that he feels privileged in ignoring if there are political benefits in so doing.