Campaign 2010

Apr 21, 2011

Pouring Cold Water on Politifact: House GOP Budget Would End Medicare and Raise Health Care Costs

Yesterday, Politifact misguidedly claimed that Republicans we not ending Medicare, despite significant evidence otherwise. 

The very definition of the Medicare program is a national health insurance program for seniors which House Republicans would abolish under their budget. Read the facts and decide for yourself.

THE FACTS

1965: Medicare Signed Into Law – National Health Insurance Program for Seniors. In 1965, President Johnson flew to Missouri to the Truman Library to sign the Social Security Act Amendments, popularly known as Medicare alongside President Truman in order to recognize Truman’s early effort to establish a national health insurance program. The legislation enacted a basic program of hospital insurance for persons aged 65 and older, and a supplementary medical insurance program to aid the elderly in paying doctor bills and other health care bills. [OurDocuments.gov, accessed 4/20/11

The Republican Budget Ends Medicare 

  • Congressional Research Service: Individuals Would Not Be Able to Enroll in Current Medicare Program. The Congressional Research service (CRS) found that the Ryan budget ends Medicare: “Individuals who become eligible (based either on age or disability) for Medicare in 2022 and later years would not be able to enroll in the current Medicare program. Instead, they would be given the option of enrolling in a private insurance plan through a newly established Medicare exchange.” [CRS Report, 4/13/11]
  • WSJ: House Republican Budget for 2012 Would “End Medicare.” According to the Wall Street Journal the Republican Plan “would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]
  • Concord Monitor Columnist: Ryan's proposal purely and simply ends Medicare. Period. In April 2011, Kathy Burns a columnist for the Concord Monitor wrote a column on the Republican Budget entited “Adieu, Medicare!” where she stated “Ryan's proposal purely and simply ends Medicare. Period.” [Concord Monitor, 4/17/11]
  • NPR Congressional Correspondent: “Ends Medicare” In 2011, NPR’s Congressional Correspondent Andrea Seabrook described the Republican Budget as ending Medicare. “the longer term budget that, you know, ends Medicare as we know it and other entitlements,” stated Seabrook. [NPR, 4/16/11]
  • NCPSSM: GOP Budget Plan Destroys Medicare and Cuts Social Security Benefits. In April 2011, Max Richtman, executive vice-president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, was quoted in a news release stating that the Republican budget would destroy Medicare. “Over time, this will destroy the only health insurance program available to 47 million Americans,” said Richtman. [NCPSSM press release, 4/5/11]
  • Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve: Plan Eviscerates Medicare. In April 2011, Alan Blinder a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the Republican Budget threatens to eviscerate Medicare. “The plan threatens to eviscerate Medicare by privatizing it—with vouchers that, absent some sort of cost-control miracle, would fall further and further behind the rising cost of health insurance,” he wrote.  [Wall Street Journal, 4/19/11]
  • US News Political Writer: Plan Would Get Rid of Medicare. In April 2011, Susan Milligan, a political and foreign affairs writer for US News wrote that the Republican Budget proposed by Ryan would get rid of Medicare. She wrote, “But getting rid of Medicare and turning it into a sketchy subsidy program for seniors, as Rep. Paul Ryan has proposed, is unnecessarily drastic and cruel.” [US News, 4/18/11]
  • Princeton Economics Professor: Medicare Would Cease to Exist.  In April 2011, Uwe Reinhardt an economics professor at Princeton wrote that Medicare would cease to exist under the Republican Plan. “For people now 55 or younger, the traditional Medicare program – a defined benefit plan — would cease to exist .” [NY Times, 4/18/11]

 

Republican Budget Would Force Seniors To Pay $12,500

  • GOP Budget Would Almost Double Healthcare Costs For Seniors. “The Republican congressman's proposal to privatize Medicare would mean a dramatic hike in U.S. healthcare costs for the elderly, an independent analysis finds. Seniors would pay almost double — more than $12,510 a year.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/7/11]
  • LA Times Opinion: Seniors Would Pay $12,500 to Start, Rising from There. In April 2011, the Los Angeles Times published an opinion piece that mentioned that “by the Congressional Budget Office's estimate, Ryan's plan would cost the average new Medicare enrollee an extra $12,500 as soon as it goes into effect in 2022, with expenses rising from there.” [LA Times, 4/20/11]

According to 2011 analysis by the Center for American Progress, under the Ryan budget, seniors would pay twice as much out of pocket as they would under the current Medicare plan:

Medicare as we know it would end for new beneficiaries in 2022 under the House Republican budget proposal. It would be replaced with a government voucher that would be paid directly to private insurance companies. This system would double costs to seniors. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, concluded that “most elderly people would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system.” [Emphasis added; americanprogress.org, 4/12/11]

The analysis went state specifically that seniors would pay $12,500 under the Ryan plan compared to $6,150 under Medicare:

Seniors would pay more for two reasons. First, the Ryan plan forces future beneficiaries out of the traditional Medicare plan into a more expensive private plan. In 2022 65-year-olds would be forced to pay twice as much for care than they would under Medicare: $12,500 compared to $6,150. [Emphasis added; americanprogress.org, 4/12/11]

Graph:

 

 

[americanprogress.org, 4/12/11 


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