As Mother's Day approaches, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley is reminding Nevadans about the importance of protecting Medicare, a program critical for moms and grandmas in the Silver State and across our nation.
"Medicare covers more than 170,000 women in Nevada and I am fighting to protect this program for my fellow moms and for grandmothers in Elko, Las Vegas, Winnemucca and every Nevada community," said Berkley. "We know that on average, women live longer than men, they tend to have lower incomes and to develop more chronic health conditions -- making the healthcare services offered under Medicare even more important. Republicans want to end Medicare as we know it in order to protect tax breaks for millionaires instead of protecting this program so that moms and grandmas can see the doctor when they need care and have access to affordable prescription medicines."
The Republican budget, which Berkley voted against, would force Nevada seniors to negotiate with private health insurance companies and end free preventive services under Medicare. The plan would also repeal the closing of the prescription drug "donut hole," a move that will cost many seniors thousands of dollars in additional out-of-pocket expenses.
"We cannot let Republicans end Medicare as we know it so they can replace it with a voucher system that would strip seniors of guaranteed benefits and leave older Americans at the mercy of private insurance companies," said Berkley.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said that the Republican plan would more than double the typical senior's out-of-pocket health care spending in 2022, increasing seniors' costs by more than $6,000. By 2030, seniors' out-of-pocket costs would nearly triple.
The Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it would hurt Nevada women:
* 170,000 women in Nevada are enrolled in Medicare.
* Women represent 56 percent of the Medicare population.
* Among the oldest Medicare beneficiaries (ages 85 and older), 70 percent are women.
* 59 percent of women on Medicare have three or more chronic health conditions, compared to 38 percent of men.
* Similarly, women have higher rates than men of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, hypertension, and osteoporosis.
* 16 percent of Medicare beneficiaries fall into the prescription drug "donut hole' coverage gap each year. Women, in addition to people with diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, are the most likely to end up in the "donut hole."
* 57 percent of women on Medicare live below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, compared to 45 percent of men.