Apr 05, 2012
FACT CHECK: Bass Voted to End Medicare, Give Tax Breaks to Millionaires
At a town hall meeting in Claremont on Wednesday, Congressman Charlie Bass (NH-02) claimed that his vote for the House Republican budget did not give people making over $1 million per year a $265,000 tax cut and did not end the Medicare guarantee by turning it into a voucher program that leaves seniors with higher health care costs. These are the same false excuses that Congressman Bass attempted to use last year when his constituents voiced their disapproval for his out of touch vote to end Medicare.
“I don’t agree that the budget will end Medicare.” It is “incorrect” to say the Ryan plan would not guarantee coverage for all seniors.
Ryan’s Plan Ends Medicare’s Guaranteed Benefit. Unlike traditional Medicare, which is a defined benefit plan, the House Republican budget would change the program into a defined contribution plan. If this plan became law, starting in 2023, America’s seniors would be told they can have $7,500 in “premium support.” The plan is modeled after one where “the elderly would be offered an allowance that could be used to buy a private plan or the existing government coverage.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 4/11; Congressional Budget Office, 3/12; Center for American Progress, 3/20/12; CBS News, 3/20/12; New York Times, 3/12/12]
Ryan’s Plan Would End Medicare’s Guarantee to Pay for Older Americans’ Health Care Needs. Ryan’s plan would mean that “older Americans no longer have a guarantee that Medicare will pay for their health needs […] “Over all, about half of Mr. Ryan’s $5 trillion in cuts over a decade would come from health care. His plan to convert Medicare to a ‘premium support’ system, though less damaging than last year’s proposal, still weakens a guarantee to the elderly and risks driving up costs for future beneficiaries. He would still offer the elderly a fixed amount of money to shop for their own health insurance, but allow the option of enrolling in traditional Medicare.” [New York Times Editorial, 3/20/12]
“There is no provision that would create a voucher system for Medicare. There never has been.”
“Premium Support” = Vouchers. “This time, [Ryan’s] plan is back with some cosmetic differences. Vouchers now go by the name of ‘premium support,’ which -- for those now 55 and younger -- could be used to buy insurance at the age of eligibility. That’s being raised, gradually, to 67 from 65.” [Commercial Appeal Editorial, 3/23/12]
Times Herald: Ryan’s Plan Turns Medicare into a Voucher Program. “The most controversial part of Ryan’s earlier budget was a plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program over time. The public was having none of it, and the unpopular plan was credited with costing the GOP a House seat. This time, the plan is back with some cosmetic differences. Vouchers now go by the name of ‘premium support,’ which — for those now 55 and younger — could be used to buy insurance at the age of eligibility. That’s being raised, gradually, to 67 from 65. Critics say this is only a first step toward disbanding the popular government health-care plan, and there would be no federal alternative because the budget also would defund Obamacare.” [Times Herald Editorial, 3/20/12]
Alliance for Retired Americans: Ryan’s Plan Turns Medicare into a Voucher Program. “Seniors would receive a set amount of money from the government to buy private insurance - vouchers - as they would under the Medicare proposal Ryan included in the budget blueprint that passed the House last year.” [Alliance for Retired Americans, accessed 3/19/12]
The Ryan plan does not give people making over $1 million per year a new $265,000 tax cut. “There’s no such language in the budget. That’s a complete fabrication. […] That is political dogma.”
Non-Partisan Experts: Ryan’s Plan Would Give People Making Over $1 Million Per Year $265,000 in New Tax Cuts. “New analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) finds that people earning more than $1 million a year would receive $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, on average, on top of the $129,000 they would receive from the Ryan budget’s extension of President Bush’s tax cuts.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/27/12; see also Tax Policy Center, Table T12-0078 and T10-0132]
April 2011: Bass “Struggled” Understanding Tax Portion of Ryan’s Plan. In April 2011, the Los Angeles Times said Bass “struggled with the tax part of [Ryan’s] plan, flatly denying that the proposal would cut taxes on wealthy individuals and saying incorrectly that the reduction applied only to corporations. He later told a reporter he wasn’t sure exactly what the budget resolution would do: ‘It’s unclear to me whether it’s a corporate tax cut or a personal tax cut,’ he said, suggesting he might not support a lowering of the individual rate.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/23/11]