Coburn Pulls The Plug On Grandma’s Social Security

Lauren Victoria Burke

Someone forgot to remind Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that it’s the Democrats’ job to make Granny’s life tougher. On the Senate floor yesterday, Coburn blocked a vote that would have prevented a reduction in Social Security payments next year.

Coburn stood in the way of unanimous consent to a House bill setting 2010 Medicare premiums at 2009 levels. As the National Journal reports (sub. req.), Coburn’s move means “seniors are facing uncertainty over Medicare costs next year” and that “would see a net reduction in their Social Security benefits.”

The back story:

The House bill, which passed 406-18 on Sept. 24, is needed to freeze monthly Part B insurance premiums, which pay for seniors’ physician visits, at $96.40 next year. Those premiums are usually deducted from Social Security checks.

But because of deflation, there is no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment planned for 2010 — yet Medicare premiums are set to rise anyway to keep pace with the program’s overall costs. Thus, seniors would see a net reduction in their Social Security benefits without the fix.