Campaign 2010

Jul 30, 2013

MEDICARE ANNIVERSARY: House GOP Voted To Make Today the Last Birthday for Medicare

Today is the 48th anniversary of President Johnson signing Medicare into law, but if House Republicans had their way, this will be the last year seniors can count on the benefits they earned. House Republicans voted to end the Medicare guarantee for seniors and force them to negotiate with private insurance companies for coverage – all to protect tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy and special interests.

Not only that, the Republican budget hypocritically keeps $716 billion in savings from Medicare – even though he and Republicans viciously attacked the savings last year.

“Today’s anniversary should be a celebration of our commitment to protect, preserve and strengthen Medicare, but instead it could be the last anniversary for Medicare if Republicans in Congress get their way,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Voters won’t forget that House Republicans voted to end their Medicare guarantee in order to protect the tax breaks of the wealthy and well-connected. With this Republican majority, Medicare is in constant jeopardy of landing on the chopping block – and this birthday could be its last.”

The AARP has warned that the Republican plan “fails to address the high costs of health care and instead shifts costs onto seniors and future retirees. Removing the Medicare guarantee of affordable health coverage seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work is not the answer.” The Tax Policy Center showed that people making more than $1 million per year would get an average tax cut of $200,000 under this plan, even while it “remov[es] the Medicare guarantee.”

BACKGROUND

House Republicans Voted to End Medicare. In 2013, House Republicans voted for the extreme budget that would end the Medicare guarantee – by converting the program into a voucher-based system – and pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans on the backs of working families. The bill passed, 221-207. [HCR 25, Vote #88, 3/21/13]

AARP: “Budget Proposal Shifts Costs To Seniors Rather Than Reducing Costs Throughout Health Care System.” In a press release, AARP said: “Chairman Paul Ryan's proposed budget fails to address the high costs of health care and instead shifts costs onto seniors and future retirees. Removing the Medicare guarantee of affordable health coverage seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work is not the answer.” [AARP, 3/12/13]

CTJ: Ryan Budget Would Deliver “An Average Net Tax Decrease of over $200,000” for Millionaires. An analysis of the Ryan budget conducted by Citizens for Tax Justice concluded: “For taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million, the benefit of Ryan’s tax rate reductions and other proposed tax cuts would far exceed the loss of any tax expenditures. In fact, under Ryan’s plan taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million in 2014 would receive an average net tax decrease of over $200,000 that year even if they had to give up all of their tax expenditures. These taxpayers would see an even larger net tax decrease if Congress failed to limit or eliminate enough tax expenditures to offset the costs of the proposed tax cuts.” [Citizens for Tax Justice, 3/13/13]

Republican Budget Would Repeal Health Care Reform “But it Does Keep the Law’s $716 Billion in Cuts to Medicare.” According to Politico: “House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget assumes that the health law is repealed and defunded. The budget generates about half of its spending cuts from defunding the law. Ryan’s budget eliminates health law revenues Republicans found objectionable, such as the tax on medical devices or health insurance, but it does keep the law’s $716 billion in cuts to Medicare. His plan would also eliminate the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board. It would keep Obamacare’s Medicare spending growth cap of 0.5 percent, which IPAB is meant to police, but does not say how to enforce it.” [Politico, 3/13/13]

  • Headline: Ryan Renounces Medicare Cuts That Were Part of His Budget [National Journal, 8/14/12]

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