Ryan Devastates Retirement Security for Seniors
The Claim: Paul Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program and to eliminate guaranteed medical benefits for all seniors is necessary to balance the budget and will strengthen the program for future generations.
Values Message: Medicare’s guarantee of health security for seniors is one of the great achievements of the 20th Century. Access to affordable health care makes it possible for seniors to enjoy the freedom of a secure retirement. As a country we learned over half a century ago that private for-profit health insurance does not work for seniors, yet Ryan is determined to repeat the life threatening mistakes of the past. Ryan plan actually costs more than traditional Medicare...
, and any savings to the government are more than offset by massive new tax breaks for the wealthy. Ryan voucher plan doubles the cost of health care for seniors, which will force many to choose between health coverage and the other necessities of life. Ryan also raises the Medicare eligibility age to 67 and repeals the Affordable Care Act’s protections against preexisting condition discrimination. Without the guarantee that people with preexisting conditions can purchase insurance at an affordable cost, 66 and 67 year-olds will be at the mercy of health insurance industry. The result will be millions of seniors in their early retirement years forced to go without coverage when they are likely to need it most, greatly increasing their risk of early death or losing all of their hard earned retirement savings to medical bills. This is much too high a price in freedom and security to pay for unnecessary and undeserved tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.
(1) Once implemented in 2022, Ryan’s Medicaid plan undermines the promise we have made to America’s seniors by doubling their out of pocket medical costs and replacing traditional Medicare’s guaranteed essential medical services with a voucher which will not keep up with inflation. The best available analysis by the Congressional Budget Office shows that by putting health insurance companies in the middle of the program, Ryan’s voucher scheme actually increases the cost of Medicare by 40% over traditional Medicare, from $14,750 to $20,500. A shocking 90% of this cost will go to lining the pockets of the health insurance industry and bloated medical providers. Seniors will be pay $6,350 more per year for Medicare, with less than 10% of the amount ( $600) going to the federal government for deficit reduction (Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).
(2) Seniors cannot afford Ryan’s massive cost shift. The median household income of Medicare beneficiaries is $25,000, with only 15% making more than $50,000 per year. For seniors retiring in 2023, Medicare costs increases by $59,500 in 2012 dollars. Someone retiring in 2030 will see $124,600 in additional Medicare costs and those retiring in 2040 will see $216,600 in additional Medicare costs. Those retiring in 2050 see $331,200 in additional Medicare costs. (Sources: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Center for American Progress).
(3) Ryan leaves 65 and 66 year olds on their own with the health insurance industry to face discrimination based on preexisting conditions. By repealing the Affordable Care Act which outlaws all pre-existing condition discrimination and by simultaneously increasing the Medicare eligibility age, Ryan forces millions of seniors in their early retirement years to go without coverage when they are likely to need it most, greatly increasing their risk of early death or losing all of their hard earned retirement savings to medical bills. (Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
(4) Traditional Medicare will not be a viable option under Ryan’s plan. Ryan claims that under the new version of his plan seniors can chose to stick with traditional Medicare, rather than buying private insurance. This is false promise, because the most credible health policy experts conclude that insurance companies will cherry pick healthier seniors, creating a death spiral of rising costs for those left behind. It is projected by the only study on the subject that seniors who choose to stay in traditional Medicare will pay $29,000 more in premiums during their retirements (Sources: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Center for American Progress)
(5) Ryan plan harms both current and future seniors. Ryan’s cynical claim that he will hold those 55 years and older harmless is false. First, by repealing the Affordable Care Act and thus reopening the Medicare Part D donut hole, Ryan exposes current retirees to up to $6,000 in increased prescription drug costs costs per year. Second, by repealing the Affordable Care Act Ryan also repeals the provision that guarantees no-cost preventative screenings for Medicare recipients. This will cost a current 65 year-old $11,000 and a current 55 year-old $18,000 in additional medical costs during retirement. Third, by block granting Medicaid and slashing it by one-third, Ryan undermines funding for long term care (home care and nursing home care) for seniors and people with disabilities. Under Ryan’s plan Wisconsin would lose $654 million in Medicaid funding in 2014 and $14.36 billion over ten years (2013-2022) (Sources: Families USA, Center for American Progress).
(6) Ryan’s plan to voucherize Medicare actually increases cost. The cost of Medicare is increased by 40% per recipient over traditional Medicare, shifting massive new costs to seniors which go to the health insurance industry and to medical providers, not to deficit reduction. Of the $6,350 extra each senior pays in Ryan’s Medicare scheme, only $600 goes to deficit reduction. (Sources:Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,Peter Orszag)
For more information go Citzen Action of Wisconsin’s dedicated helath care reform websitewww.gothealthcarewi.com