Posted: July 9, 2012
Medicare at risk
Robin Hood in reverse
Republicans in Congress call it “Medicare reform.”
In March the House of Representatives passed a budget bill that makes dramatic changes to the Medicare program. Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, calls the Republican budget bill “Robin Hood in reverse.”
The original idea behind Medicare, passed in 1965, was to help us afford medical care in our old age. The sight of old people unable to get medical care touched something in the nation’s conscience and our government took action to help.
But that was then. Today, Republicans in Congress want to turn Medicare into a voucher program. Instead of guaranteed medical coverage, old people would get a small chunk of money to buy insurance on their own. That’s going to be great for insurance companies. But what happens to seniors when their voucher money runs out?
For seniors, the nation stands at a fork in the road. Seniors are just starting to see some progress on the healthcare front. What is that progress?
The Affordable Healthcare Act—Obama’s healthcare reform passed in 2010—has several features that directly help seniors. It closes the Part D prescription drug “donut hole,” it eliminates co-insurance and deductibles for most preventative services, and prohibits Medicare Advantage plans from charging more than traditional Medicare for costly services.
Republicans have vowed to repeal these reforms. They say a voucher system will save money. And what do they propose to do with the money that is saved? Their budget proposes more tax reductions targeted to help the richest Americans.
Like the man says, Robin Hood in reverse.
Oh, and one more thing. The Republican budget bill raises the Medicare eligibility age to 67, so be sure not to get sick or injured before then.
Better yet, help make sure the Republican budget bill never becomes law—vote for candidates who will defend our Medicare benefits.