Democrats' empty promises on Medicare reform

After 30 years of campaigning by saying that Republicans wanted to cut Medicare, and ridiculing GOP efforts to cut waste in government, Democrats now are proposing to slash the program themselves by "cutting out waste and fraud."

This strange role reversal is necessary to concoct the phony numbers upon which they base their incredible claim that making all health care like Medicare will save Americans money.

Last year the Congressional Budget Office said Medicare spending alone will consume nearly the entire federal budget by 2082 at its current growth rate.

No wonder Americans are not buying into the Democrat health care plan.

Let's review history. Medicare cost $3 billion in 1966. In what it called a conservative estimate, the House Ways and Means Committee that year projected Medicare would cost $12 billion after inflation by 1990. The actual cost in 1990: $107 billion.

The costs of Medicare doubled every four years between 1966 and 1980 as the population grew older and politicians added more promises.

Those contributing factors continued and today Medicare costs almost $500 billion. Yet, President Barack Obama says he will cut that amount from the program over the next 10 years. If that did not happen, of course, his health care plan would cost that much more and be even less acceptable to the voters.

David M. Walker, U.S. comptroller general, once said, "There is no way we are going to deliver all the Medicare promises that have been made. No way."

Add Obama's promise to cut Medicare to the list of promises that won't be kept.

Lloyd Brown is a retired editorial page editor who blogs at