Sunday, April 24, 2011

CBO: Ryan Plan Would Double Seniors' Health Care Expenses

Examine this chart based on the findings of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Compare how much more a 65-year-old would have to spend in 2022 under the plan of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) than under the current Medicare system:


What accounts for this disparity? Ryan would give seniors vouchers that will not keep pace with rising medical costs. He’d then turn them loose, including those with serious conditions, on the private market. If they’re not able to cover their costs, too bad. From a New York Times editorial:

The Ryan proposal would give those turning age 65 in 2022 “premium support” payments to help them buy private policies. There is little doubt that the Republican proposal would sharply reduce federal spending on Medicare by capping what the government would pay at very low levels. But it could cause great hardship by shifting a lot of the burden to beneficiaries. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2022 new enrollees would have to pay at least $6,400 more out of pocket to buy coverage comparable to traditional Medicare.

Huge numbers of Medicare beneficiaries live on modest incomes and are already struggling to pay medical bills that Medicare does not fully cover. We should not force them into private health plans that would charge them a lot more or provide much skimpier benefits.

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