10:11 AM Eastern - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Protect Medicare: Don't Let Republicans Pull the Wool Over Your Eyes #the-healthcare-law

CLAIM: Republicans argue that their budget plan doesn't end Medicare as we know it.

Lamb_Wool.jpgDefenders of the budget proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee, deny the crushing effect the cuts and added costs their plan would have on seniors who rely on Medicare for their healthcare.

In one recent interview, freshman Republican Steve Stivers emphasized that people aged 55 and up will see no change in their benefits under the Republican plan. House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price added that the Republican plan would "save and strengthen Medicare by giving future seniors guaranteed access to greater health care choices."

Are these the same people who want to see Medicare costs double for seniors and cut 3 million jobs?

My reaction to hearing these kinds of ludicrous statements is to invoking the following humorous pet metaphors, a la Politifact.com....

  • A dog has four legs. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one.
  • If your pet dies, and you replace it with another with the same name, the first pet is still dead.
  • If you replace a St. Bernard with a hamster, it's ludicrous to call it a 'restructured' dog.
The point being: Just because you call the Republican voucher program 'Medicare' doesn't make it Medicare.

GOP Claims About Medicare = More "Falsehood" Than "Fact"

Under the GOP plan, Medicare would remain intact for the next ten years. However, Americans turning 65 in 2022 and after would not be allowed to enroll in the healthcare program. Instead, they'd be given "vouchers" to buy private insurance, vouchers whose real value would erode over time as the cost of care continues to rise each year.

The non-partisan CBO projected that medical expenses will grow for seniors under the proposal (roughly $6,000), diminishing the value of the safety net over time. The value of the voucher under this plan wouldn't keep up with escalating health care costs and would result in new financial burdens on the elderly. By 2030, the average 65 year old would pay 68% of healthcare costs out of pocket when compared to 25 to 30% under the current law.

These facts combined don't really seem to fit with Republicans' description of how their budget will "strengthen" Medicare. TNR's Jonathan Cohn sums it up nicely:

Raising the age at which Americans become eligible for Medicare, or whatever program Republicans put in its place, would make health insurance more expensive for businesses, workers, and their employees, all while leaving one-fifth of future 65- and 66-year-olds with too little insurance or none at all. And oh, by the way, this is all part of a Republican budget that enacts huge tax breaks for the wealthy.

The budget process moves to the Senate now and the future of Medicaid and Medicare lie in the hands of your Senators. They need to hear from you - use our click-to-call tool to tell them to oppose the extreme Republican budget proposal.

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