CUTS TO MEDICARE APPROVED BY GOP HOUSE WOULD HAVE MAJOR IMPACTS ON EAST COUNTY SENIORS AND DISABLED PEOPLE, ANALYSIS FINDS

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In the 52nd Congressional District represented by Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon),  a Democratic analysis estimates the plan would shift thousands of dollars in costs onto individuals --$182,000 to $287,000 per person for those ages 44-54--while sharply cutting benefits for those over age 54 and the disabled.

 

June 19, 2011 (Washington D.C.) – How will the bill passed in April by House Republicans’ to cut $1 trillion in Medicare costs impact people in East County and San Diego?


The plan would eliminate Medicare for those now under 55, making them use vouchers for private insurance instead. Some benefits for current Medicare beneficiaries and the disabled would be cut immediately. Seniors would pay more for prescriptions and government reimbursement to private insurers would not keep pace with the rising cost of medical care, resulting in seniors paying higher costs.  That's based on numerous independen analyses, from the Wall Street Journal to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
 

Now ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have posted a breakdown by Congressional districts that shows majorl impacts on seniors and even greater cuts to those currently under 55.

 

  

In the 52nd Congressional District represented by Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon), adverse impacts are estimated to include shifting thousands of dollars in costs onto individuals--$182,000 to $287,000 per person for those ages 44-54 in the district--while sharply cutting benefits for those over age 54 and the disabled.

  

According to an analysis prepared by the committee’s Democratic staffers, the Republicans’ plan would have the following impacts in East County's 52nd Congressional district represented by Rep. Hunter, who voted for the bill:


• Increase prescription drug costs for 7,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who enter the Part D doughnut hole, requiring them to pay an extra $69 million for drugs over the next decade;
• Eliminate new preventative care benefits for 88,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district;
• Deny 510,000 people under age 55 access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits;
• Increase out-of-pocket costs of health coverage over $6,000 a year in 2022 and nearly $12,000 a year in 2032 for the 121,000 people in the district now between ages 44 and 54;
• Require the 510,000 people ages 44-54 in the district to pay an average of $182,000 to $287,000 more per person for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes, meaning less money for retirement—and younger residents would have to pay even more out of their own pockets;
• Raise Medicare’s eligbility age by at least one year (to age 66 or more) for 64,000 people in the district ages 44-49 and by two years (to age 67) for 393,000 constitutents of Rep. Hunter who are now age 43 or younger.

 

For more details on the impact in Rep. Hunter’s district, as well as breakdowns for other Congressional Districts, see : http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=page/district-by-d...

 

The measure passed in April by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives next goes to the Senate for consideration.

 

The plan is opposed by most organizations representing senior citizens, such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). It is supported by the 60 Plus Association, a conservative seniors’ advocacy group, which has run TV commercials which claim that “The reality is that Medicare in its current form is going to bankrupt our nation.” Republicans have called Democrats’ analysis “Medicscare tactics” but the GOP leadership has not released data that would dispute or disprove the district-by-district impacts calculated by Democratic staffers.

 

 

Rep. Paul Ryan, author of the bill, has explained his "Premium Support" voucher plan this way. "It works just like Medicare Advantage today, Medicare prescription drugs, Medicare supplemental – you get a list of plans that Medicare preapproves that are guaranteed coverage options that you select from," his website states. "These plans compete against each other for your business."

 

 

Ryan has objected to President Barack Obama shifting some Medicare funds for use in the federal healthcare reform measure; his bill would also eliminate those funding shifts. Ryan has stated that "Medicare is not going be there for us if we don't do anything to save it," although in fact his plan would completely eliminate Medicare for everyone under age 55 by privatizing the federal program.

 

Opponents of the Republican plan have called for a wide range of alternatives, from minor shifts in eligibility requirements to freeing up more revenues for the program by cutting expenditures elsewhere such as ending wars, to raising revenues such as by ending Bush-era tax cuts for higher-income Americans.