The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, is breaking ranks from many in his party by backing means-testing for Medicare payouts.
The Hill reports
that Cleaver's move signals a compromise with Republicans, who, if public opinion
is any indication, are in no position to force one in fiscal cliff talks. "We can do means-testing and reduce the payments [to the wealthy]," said Cleaver, who prefers to whittle down the program's offerings to the rich rather than reduce benefits to the majority of middle and low income seniors.
As The Hill's
Elise Viebeck points out, the GOP has long been in favor of means-tested benefit schemes, which some on the left have come out against
because it could reduce the incentive of the wealthy to support welfare generally. Still, some measure of means-testing has been in place for years.
"Wealthier seniors have had to pay higher premiums for Medicare's Supplementary Medical Insurance since 2007," notes Viebeck. "And in 2011, they began to pay more for their prescription drug benefit."
Via The Hill, Business Insider and The Daily Kos