Obama backs Medicare means testing, cuts to drug industry

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An administration official said Obama is only open to bolstering the program's existing means-testing, rather than expanding its reach. Individuals making more than $85,000 per year and couples making more than $170,000 — about 5 percent of beneficiaries — already pay higher Medicare premiums.

Obama is open to making those wealthy seniors pay more but has not endorsed higher premiums for anyone below those income levels, the official said.

He didn't comment specifically on a proposal to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67, which he reportedly offered as part of a larger, $4 trillion deficit-reduction package. When Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) offered a Medicare proposal that raised the eligibility age and introduced means testing, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called it "unfair" and "unacceptable."

The White House has also revived a proposal to extend certain Medicaid rebates for prescription drugs, which the pharmaceutical industry strongly opposes.

Obama didn't directly mention rebates during Friday's press conference, but he said Medicare "modifications" could also affect healthcare industries.

"Drug companies, for example, are still doing very well through the Medicare program," he said.

Obama said the healthcare reform law expanded seniors' access to prescription drugs and made the products more affordable, but "there's more work to potentially be done there."