In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Will the White House Avoid the 'Entitlement Spending' Trap?

Social Security, which will remain fully solvent for more than 30 years, is a minor problem compared with the unsustainable growth of Medicare , particularly the private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans that have bloated the program's bottom line without offering tangible improvements in case.

As Joe Conason observes, the Obama team has long emphasized that its budget, and tomorrow's presidential address to Congress, will focus on health care. The two health-related proposals that are reportedly under consideration for the White House budget -- trimming MA payments and taxing employers that don't provide health coverage -- are a good start ...

... but if previous congressional proposals on MA are any guide, cutting subsidies for private plans will at best yield $50 billion in savings over 10 years. Ensuring Medicare solvency, while paying for broader health care reform, will require the freeing-up of a good deal more cash. One hopes the White House will start talking loudly about where to find those savings, not what to do with the manageable state of Social Security.