There has been a lot of back-and-forth about what a Romney-Ryan ticket means for seniors and those on Medicare, so let’s cut through the hype and look at the facts.
To help pay for the budget-busting tax breaks they want to give millionaires and billionaires, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan plan to take away what we know as Medicare and instead offer seniors a voucher that they could use to buy insurance in the private market.
If you think the Romney-Ryan plan sounds like Medicare Advantage, you would be wrong. While Medicare Advantage offers seniors a fair choice, the Romney-Ryan plan does not. The result of their plan would be that seniors would either pay more or receive less coverage. Their plan would take away guaranteed benefits, and its vouchers would not keep up with health costs or ensure that seniors can get the same quality of care they have today.
If you want to use your voucher to buy back into traditional Medicare, you will have to pay more. Romney even admitted as much, saying that Medicare premiums may “have to be higher and seniors will have to pay the difference” for you to keep the Medicare you earned and paid for.
The Romney-Ryan plan is a lot like a plan Ryan proposed last year, which would have privatized Medicare altogether. That plan – which Romney said he would sign and called marvelous – would have raised seniors’ health care costs by nearly $6,400 a year.
Romney is worried that seniors will see through his privatization plan, so he is accusing President Obama of cutting Medicare. Maybe you have seen the ads. Romney falsely claims that the President cut Medicare by more than $700 billion and that current seniors would not be affected by his and Ryan’s scheme – but that is not true at all.
First, the $700 billion is not in truth a cut to Medicare. It is instead savings that will extend the life of Medicare through 2024, without cutting any benefits whatsoever. Even Congressman Ryan thought that was a good idea, which is why he kept it in his budget.
What did get cut were unnecessary taxpayer subsidies to insurance companies, wasteful spending and health care fraud. In fact, under President Obama, we have recovered more money from fraud than ever before. And that money has gone into the Medicare Trust Fund, so it will not go bankrupt in 2016.
Romney wants you to think the President smashed open Medicare’s piggy bank and ran away with more than $700 billion. But President Obama did not do that. It’s more like he looked under the sofa, gathered the change that was lying there – it turns out there was a lot of it – and put it in the piggy bank so Medicare can keep going for eight more years.
Second, no matter what Romney and Ryan say, current seniors will be affected by their plan. That’s because they will repeal the Affordable Care Act, force Medicare into bankruptcy in just four years, and raise health costs on millions of seniors across the country.
For example, the Affordable Care Act is closing Medicare’s doughnut hole, which has already helped Granite Staters save millions on their prescription drugs. Just last year, 13,000 people in New Hampshire in the doughnut hole saved an average of $620 on their drug costs. Romney and Ryan’s plan to repeal the health law would immediately make Medicare beneficiaries pay hundreds of dollars more for the same medication.
The Affordable Care Act is also making sure that Medicare covers preventive care – including screenings for breast cancer and colon cancer, immunizations and regular checkups with no co-pay. If Romney and Ryan repeal the law, more than 200,000 people with Medicare across the state would have to pay for all of that out of their own pockets.
Here’s the bottom line: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would make seniors pay more for Medicare so millionaires and billionaires can pay less in taxes. President Obama is helping seniors save and strengthening Medicare so it will be there for current and future generations.
Seems like a pretty easy choice to me.
I am concerned by the direction of the Legislature, particularly the House, over the past 18 months. Instead of working together to find common sense solutions to solve New Hampshire’s pressing problems with solutions that fit New Hampshire residents’ values, the Republican leadership has followed an ideological Tea Party agenda driven by out-of-state special interest groups.
Repealing kindergarten, lowering the drop-out age, slashing the assistance to our college and universities, repealing the minimum wage, taxing hospitals, attempting a state takeover of Medicare, preventing further work on passenger rail, allowing guns in college dorms and psychiatric hospitals? These are not the values of decent, hard-working New Hampshire families. These are, however, all bills that received solid support in the House, sometimes with strong leadership support. Some of these bills even passed.
I am running for re-election as State Representative for Nashua Ward 3 because I care about the issues you care about: access to high quality, affordable health care, privacy protections for your medical information, decent schools and roads, safe communities, and preventing the increased property tax burden on families that is caused by the Legislature slashing state aid to cities and towns.
If these are your values too, I respectfully ask for your vote on Tuesday, November 6. Thank you.