For 45 years, Democrats have fought to protect Medicare and preserve one of our nation's bedrock promises to America's seniors. According to a new report released yesterday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Affordable Care Act extends the solvency of Medicare by 12 years — from 2017 to 2029 — protecting guaranteed benefits and strengthening health care services for America's seniors and disabled workers. From the report:
The law also includes provisions that will improve the quality of care, develop and promote new models of care delivery, appropriately price services, modernize our health system, and fight waste, fraud, and abuse. Implementing these changes extends the life of the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund by 12 years from 2017 to 2029, more than doubling the time before the exhaustion of the Trust Fund.
Congressional Republicans voted against strengthening Medicare for America's seniors and extending the Trust Fund by 12 years. In fact, the GOP's alternative budget — proposed by Budget Committee Ranking Republican Paul Ryan (R-WI) — would turn Medicare into a voucher system, eliminating guaranteed benefits and dismantling our promise to seniors, workers and their families. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the Ryan proposal:
The age of eligibility for Medicare would increase incrementally from 65 (for people born before 1956), as it is under current law, to 69 years and 6 months for people born in 2022 and later. Starting in 2021, new enrollees would no longer receive coverage through the current program but, instead, would be given a voucher with which to purchase private health insurance.
Ezra Klein of the Washington Post explains the impact the Republican budget alternative would have on America's seniors:
The proposal would shift risk from the federal government to seniors themselves. The money seniors would get to buy their own policies would grow more slowly than their health-care costs, and more slowly than their expected Medicare benefits, which means that they’d need to either cut back on how comprehensive their insurance is or how much health-care they purchase… This proposal would take Medicare from costing an expected 14.3 percent of GDP in 2080 to less than 4 percent. That’s trillions of dollars that’s not going to health care for seniors. The audacity is breathtaking.
Congressional Republicans support Wall Street banks, credit card companies, Big Oil, and insurance companies — the special interests that benefited from George Bush's policies and created the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We are not going back.