Obama Plans to Reduce Spending in Medicare and Medicaid

President Barack Obama plans to make a speech on Wednesday that addresses numerous debt issues, including that of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Media reports predict his discussion will lean towards reducing spending in both programs to contribute to reducing a $4 trillion deficit over the next 10 years.

Cutting Excess Health Care Spending a Must

Some say the president is placing the need to cut excess health care spending in the nation’s biggest benefit programs at the top of his agenda on Wednesday as he proposes ways to reduce the deficit.

While some of his plans contrast the $5 trillion in cuts his Republican opponents propose–including his push to increase taxes for the wealthy–some worry his proposal to make cuts in Medicaid and Medicare fall too closely in line with Republican ideas.

Currently, he is expected to make changes to the programs, but there is no official word beyond speculation of what those changes will be.

Republican Suggestions for Medicaid and Medicare

On the Republican side, lawmakers pushing their $5 trillion deficit reduction proposal also want to make cuts in the benefits programs. Lawmakers have suggested making structural overhauls to Medicaid and Medicare over the next 10 years. More specifically, they’ve proposed to make $1 trillion in Medicaid cuts alone.

Opponents of this proposal have expressed concern that it could leave lower-income individuals without free or affordable health insurance options in a time when the economy is near its worst. In addition, a separate push to repeal health care reform as a whole could leave millions without coverage.

The opposing ideas of Obama and Republican lawmakers are expected to be an ongoing theme seen between both parties in the coming months. This is especially true since they are both revving up campaigns for the 2012 elections.