Come January, Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield will become the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees government entitlement programs. The Democratic caucus signed off on the assignment Friday.
John McDonough of the Harvard School of Public Health said Neal has his work cut out for him on Medicare.
“His leadership at Ways and Means will be really, really important when it comes to addressing the challenges that Speaker [Paul] Ryan will be putting forward in terms of changing the whole program and moving to some kind of what’s known as a premium support system, which would try to save the federal government a lot of money and would not be good for consumers and probably not for hospitals either,” McDonough said.
Neal has said he’ll oppose any effort to privatize Medicare. But McDonough pointed out that while Neal now has a leadership role, he won’t be in the majority on the committee, so he can only do so much.