We can remember conservatives holding signs to protest Obamacare which read, “Keep your government hands off my Medicare” but with the program being targeted by Republicans, they are strangely quiet. Seniors will face a sweeping set of changes that would dramatically increase healthcare costs for the elderly and in the end, they will pay more for their healthcare while getting less if Republicans have their way.
AARP’s President and a member of the AARP Board of Directors Eric J. Schneidewind wrote an article for Time magazine outlining the problems seniors will face under Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan.
Perhaps the most visible plan to cut Medicare is the one endorsed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, which would eliminate the guaranteed level of coverage that Medicare currently provides — e.g., covering hospital care and 80 percent of the total cost of doctor visits — and replace it with “vouchers” with which seniors would be directed to buy their own health insurance from the private sector.
Other plans being circulated in Congress contemplate similar approaches, the end result of which can best be described as shifting more risk to seniors – a risk that means either paying more for their healthcare or getting less of it.
Other plans circulating in Congress end up with seniors paying more out of their own pocket for the same coverage or skipping the medical care they need.
Ryan dubbed his voucher-based approach to Medicare as “premium support,” but according to Schneidewind, it’s a clear downgrade of the “benefits people have earned throughout their working lives.” The talking point from Republicans is that Medicare is “going broke” but that’s not true.
In fact, both the Medicare Trustees Report and The Congressional Budget Office report that Medicare’s fiscal strength has improved — not declined — in recent years and that the Medicare trust fund is fully funded through 2029 and 79-percent funded through 2040, a highly manageable shortfall that can be closed in coming years without experimenting with, or reducing, seniors’ healthcare coverage.
If the changes take place, seniors in the traditional Medicare program will see their own premiums rise dramatically. Trump vowed to not “touch” Medicare while he was on the campaign trail. “I am going to protect and save your Social Security and your Medicare. You made a deal a long time ago,” Trump said at the time.
Paul Ryan’s Ayn Randish views would affect millions of senior citizens.
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