Fact Sheets

December 01, 2016

Medicare at Risk in 2017


On January 3, 2017, Senator Mike Enzi, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, filed legislation to begin to dismantle our health care system. This is the first part of the Republican plan to radically alter our health care programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

In November, 2016,House Speaker Paul Ryan told Fox News that he would push legislation in early 2017 that would in effect end Medicare’s guaranteed health care benefits. For years Ryan has worked to replace Medicare with a voucher or coupon for seniors to use to purchase their health insurance. This threat to our earned health care benefits became even more serious when President-elect Donald Trump nominated Rep. Tom Price to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Like Ryan, Price has vowed to privatize, cut and change Medicare to a voucher program.

Speaker Ryan said he would bury the Medicare changes in the legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. This strategy is an effort to confuse and distract Americans who overwhelmingly support and depend on Medicare and wish to see it strengthened, not destroyed.  This is not the first time Speaker Ryan has tried to dismantle Medicare and his plans are available on his website. They include:

End Medicare’s Guaranteed Benefits

  • Raise the Medicare Eligibility Age from 65 to 67.

This would deny nearly 5 million seniors insurance starting in 2020. By 67, most Americans have at least one chronic medical condition that would make the purchase of private insurance prohibitively expensive and difficult to obtain.

  • Vouchers or Coupon-care: Instead of a Medicare card which provides access to health care, seniors would receive a limited voucher or coupon. These coupons would contribute toward the purchasing of a traditional Medicare plan or a private insurance policy and would require beneficiaries to pay significantly more out-of-pocket.
  • Medigap Plans Will Cover Less: Today Medigap insurance plans are allowed to cover most of a beneficiary’s co-payments. The Ryan Coupon-Care Voucher Plan would change the rules and Medigap policies would no longer be able to cover deductibles. Medigap plans would also be limited in how much of the difference between the deductible and the out of pocket cap could be covered. 
  • Costs Shifted to Seniors: Speaker Ryan’s Coupon-Care Voucher Plan would double hospital stay copayments and would substantially increase all deductibles.

Gutting Medicaid

Medicaid pays the long-term care costs for millions of seniors and provides health care services to people with disabilities and low-income Americans.

Ryan and Price’s vision includes drastic changes to states’ Medicaid programs as well as 25% cuts in funding. States would be forced to cut benefits to their most vulnerable people or increase state taxes to make up the difference.

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15 thoughts on “Medicare at Risk in 2017”

  1. We, the world’s richest nation is the only industrialized country in the world which cannot and refuses to take care of its citizens in need.
    Shame on us!

  2. Sirs; at my age of 93 years old, I have used virtually all my resources just to stay alive; let alone paying for my wife’s and my medical expenses. Please do all things possible to derail the plans of Ryan and Price.

  3. The Alliance must do all possible things to derail Ryan and Price and their heartless plans. At age 93 years I have barely
    enough resources to stay alive, let alone paying for medical bills for my dear wife and me. Do all you can to DERAIL the
    heartless plans of Congressmen Price and Ryan !!!

  4. According to the figures I have seen, elderly voters voted overwhelmingly for the party that has made it clear that it wanted to privatize Medicare. What were they thinking? It is really hard to understand or feel sorry for folks who vote against their own best interests.

  5. I am 75 years old and have severe arthritis. Thanks to Medicare, I was able to have two knee replacements, and now I can walk normally. But I also need a shoulder replacement, and plan to have it early in 2017, before the threatened end of Medicare. My husband has heart disease; he’s had open-heart surgery and several stents inserted. He will probably need more cardiac care in the future. If the voucher system comes into play, we will not be able to have our medical needs met. What will we do then? My husband could die if emergency cardiac care were not affordable, and I would have to forego future joint surgery. This spells a grim future. We worked long and hard, often at two jobs each, for our Medicare and we deserve it. Please counteract the Republicans’ plans to defraud us.

  6. I earned my first credit toward Social Security at the age of 5(!) as a child model. Then I started working every summer while in college. Once I earned my 40 quarters (and over the years many more quarters) I thought I would be safe. I won’t be able to pay my property taxes without it, and could lose what I and my family has worked for. My son will either have all his Social Security taken away or not be able to receive it until the age of 70, when many people find it impossible to continue full or part-time work.

  7. It is shameful that these two individuals who are set financially are working to take a benefit away from others, especially Seniors. We have worked for years paying into medicare to have healthcare in our retirement years. I am a healthy 79 year old, however should I need medication or surgery down the road I would be in a difficult situation financially. My husband is in a nursing home and his care is costly. Let us not return to the days where seniors had to choose between food and medical care. What kind of society abandons their elderly …I will tell you: One who is self absorbed, disrespectful, ungrateful and sinful. We took care of you as children, nurtured you, paid our taxes and helped you when you needed us…Guess what you still need us because you have forgotten where you came from….and the fact that you will be US one day, God willing!

  8. I am almost 64 and was counting on signing up for Medicare within the next year. Now I read the age will be changed to 67 and Medicare possibly phased out completely. This is crazy. The US is not a poor country. We can afford health care. I do not understand why the US government is so reluctant to just do the right thing and allow us to have health care. It’s a necessity, not a luxury. We provide our US legislators with excellent health care at our expense, but they won’t allow us to provide it for ourselves.

  9. I’am all for letting Trump and his band of thieves gut Medicare and Medicaid as long as they replace them with the same Coverage that they receive as our Voices in Congress!

  10. Please do all you can to keep this from happening. am 75 yrs old with diabetic problems, my husband is a heart patient
    has had several stents and under constant medical care, my sister is 70 yrs old lives with us and a handicap, this will mean her medicaid will be cut off and medicare un affordable she has so many problems, osterophis, two hip replacements, breast cancer and other disabilities, what can i do to help? i am a retired att employee, cwa
    member also many thnks

  11. I served 9 year in the U.S Army for are rights n freedom. Now are government want to turn everything over to big business and take everything thing away from the little man. They are turn their backs on the American people for money in their back pockets. What if the the men and women in are military need that to are country they go to prison. The American people paid in to Medicare all their live they have a right to get it back. Not to turn it over to big business to help their back pockets.

  12. All this talk about Privatization is simply smoke and mirrors. One should look to the total “service” vs total “cost”. The moment you engage the private sector vs government, you add 25% to the base cost for profit. Simple example: Private insurance, today, averages 15% overhead. So out of every dollar taken in, only 75 cents is used for “service” (doctors, medical, etc). Medicare currently has a 3% overhead. Thus, they take in a dollar and spend 97 cents on your needs. Further, insurance companies today are limited by the ACA to 15% overhead. Prior to the ACA, they ran about 25% overhead. So, if you enjoy paying CEO’s $50M a year, then tear down Medicare.

  13. Many of the citizens of Nazi Germany thought that the rants of Hitler were all smoke and mirrors too. But, what has history taught us? If nothing, we go down that same road that destroyed countries, and millions of lives!

  14. I’m almost 73 yrs old with a monthly S.S. check of $740.00. My husband is 70 & is retiring in a few mo. We have nothing to fall back on except the S.S. checks. This looks very frightening to us & he is talking about staying with his job longer… as long as his health holds out.
    Trump, Ryan & Price need to revisit this program with some retirees.

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