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Carter Opposes Cutting Medicare Advantage

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Location: Washington, DC


CARTER OPPOSES CUTTING MEDICARE ADVANTAGE

Democratic Bill slashes successful Medicare programs while providing free healthcare to illegal immigrants

Washington, D.C., Jul 31 -

House Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (TX-31) today will oppose a Democrat healthcare bill that could cut Medicare Advantage benefits by $157 billion, provide healthcare to illegal immigrants and raise taxes on middle class Americans. The Majority's bill dramatically expands the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by allowing families who make up to $82,000 a year, four times the poverty level, to qualify for taxpayer-funded health care.

"The era of big government is back, and this bill is the first step to ensure that the government has their hand in your healthcare," Congressman Carter said. "Not only is this plan the first-step toward a taxpayer-funded universal healthcare system, it also cuts the highly successful Medicare Advantage program for over 3 million seniors and rewards illegal immigrants by supplying them with free healthcare."

According to press reports, Medicare Advantage would be cut by $157 billion, resulting in higher co-pays, a loss in specific health care benefits, less quality and choice of programs and fewer choices among doctors. In the 31st District of Texas alone, 16,602 seniors would be affected by the dramatic cuts in Medicare Advantage.

Overall, the SCHIP bill will strip 3.2 million American Seniors of their Medicare Advantage benefits, and cut $8.8 billion from Medicare Part A, including rehabilitation facilities and long term care hospitals, and the list goes on. In its current form, the bill includes:

· Medicare cuts of $6.5 billion to skilled nursing facilities.

· Medicare Part B cuts for seniors by $9.6 billion, including payments for oxygen and brachytherapy.

· Medicare cuts of $3.6 billion to the end-stage renal disease program for seniors.

· Medicare cuts of $7.5 billion to home health and more cuts to end-stage renal programs

Not only will the SCHIP bill make drastic cuts to the Medicare Advantage program, it also uses taxpayer money to provide health benefits for illegal aliens by eliminating the requirement that persons applying for such services show proof of citizenship or nationality.

"I have long been an advocate against illegal immigration," Carter continued. "In no way should we reward those who illegally come into America by paying for their healthcare at the expense of the taxpayer. This isn't a solution to the problem. If anything, this bill undermines our border security efforts and imposes a tax increase on legal hard-working Texans."

In 1996, the Republican-led Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act to limit federal benefits to those who are lawfully in the United States. This Democrat bill rolls back these reforms by dolling out billions of dollars to states who then have the option of whether or not to verify that a person is an American citizen before providing taxpayer-funded health benefits like Medicaid and SCHIP. The bill also eliminates the current five-year waiting period required for legal immigrants to receive government health benefits.

In this bill, Democrats also imposed an unprecedented new tax on individual Americans who have a private healthcare plan. During a Ways & Means Committee action on the bill last week, long after midnight, House Democrats included a stealth tax increase that will drain money from the Medicare trust fund and increase taxes on every American with a private health insurance plan. The tax hike was hidden in a non-tax portion of the bill that was unexplainable by the Committee's Democrats.

"I have said it once and I will say it again. The Democrats have expressed in large amounts their desire to expand government programs and charge it to the taxpayers," Carter said. "As a common sense Central Texan, I will not support any action that raises taxes on middle class Americans, rewards illegal immigrants by providing them free healthcare and ultimately cripples the successful Medicare Advantage plan that many of our seniors depend on."


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