Feds may act to stop big rise in Medicare premiums

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By Robert Pear

Congress and the Obama administration are frantically seeking ways to hold down Medicare premiums that could rise 50 percent for some beneficiaries next year.

Aides to Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, and Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from West Chester, are quietly exploring a deal that would limit the expected increase.

“Congress has a responsibility to act,” Pelosi said by email on Monday. “If we do nothing, millions of American seniors will suffer. Democrats continue to press the Republican leadership to bring a fix to the floor so we can prevent the serious harm this increase will have.”

The cost of avoiding such big premium increases, $7.5 billion by some estimates, could be a problem for conservative Republicans. Aides to Boehner say the cost would have to be offset by savings elsewhere in the federal budget.

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