President Obama emphasized his support for Medicare cuts in an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper in November 2009, promising to veto any legislation that attempted to undo the cuts.
JAKE TAPPER: One of the concerns about health care and how you pay for it—one-third of the funding comes from cuts to Medicare.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right.
TAPPER: A lot of times, as you know, is someone in Congress will do something bold and then Congress, close to election season, will undo it. You saw that with the Doc Fix. Are you willing to pledge that whatever cuts in Medicare are being made to fund health insurance—one-third of it—that you will veto anything that tries to undo that?
OBAMA: Yes. I actually have said that it is important for us to make sure that this thing is deficit neutral, without tricks. I said I wouldn’t sign a bill that didn’t meet that criteria. And what I also said in that speech to the joint session was that I’m willing to put in some safe guards, where if we don’t obtain the savings that have been promised, then we’ve got to make adjustments in terms of the benefits, because the goal here is to reduce costs for families—give them more security—but do so in a way that is not adding to our deficit, that in fact, over the long term, if we can bend the cost curve, will reduce our deficit. I promise you. We’re already starting to look at the fiscal year 2011 budget and the out years, and although we are in the midst of a recession, and we inherited a big structural deficit, no one’s more mindful than me of the fact that we can’t have a bill that simply blows up an additional entitlement that’s not paid for.
TAPPER: So Congress needs to know that you’ll veto any attempt to walk back what they’ve passed.
OBAMA: Congress needs to know that when I say this has to be deficit neutral, I mean it.