February 17, 2017
Decoding Deceptive Health Care Promises
Speaker Ryan and the Republican leadership in Congress want make massive changes to Americans’ health care. They are working with President Trump to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and, at the same time, promising to “reform” Medicare and Medicaid. Their plans mean massive cuts and rationed care – but they are using misleading language to make their proposals sound more acceptable.
Don’t be fooled! Listen for these Republican code words and tell them what their plans would do to retirees.
- Premium support or vouchers = coupons.
Instead of guaranteed benefits, seniors would get a limited voucher or coupon they could use toward the purchase of a traditional Medicare plan or a private insurance policy. The coupons will be insufficient to cover the level of benefits in traditional Medicare and retirees will have to pay more out-of-pocket to get sufficient coverage.
- Access = access, but not affordable
Speaker Ryan and Secretary Price talk a lot about ensuring access to care, but very little about keeping health care affordable. That’s because their plans remove provisions designed to keep costs in check for beneficiaries.
- Protect Medicare for future generations = Raise the eligibility age to 67 or higher
Speaker Ryan and Secretary Price say they want to save Medicare for future retirees but they actually want to take away care from millions of people by raising the eligibility age starting in 2020.
- Means-Testing = middle class pays more
Currently, seniors with incomes above $85,000 and couples with incomes of $170,000 are mean-tested and pay higher Part B and D premiums. This represents 5% of beneficiaries. Speaker Ryan want to increase the number of seniors subject to means testing to 25%. This would mean that a middle class senior with an income of $47,000 would pay a higher premium.
- Medicaid Block Grant – Per-capita caps = rationing care
Medicaid block grant and per-capita caps would fundamentally change Medicaid and cut federal health care payments to states by over a $1 trillion over 10 years. States would have to raise taxes to replace those funds or limit the number of people eligible for Medicaid – or the amount of care each person gets. Millions of seniors would lose basic health care and nursing home coverage.