Mr. SIRES. Mr. Speaker, my colleagues across the aisle have recently claimed that current seniors won't be impacted by their plan to end Medicare as we know it. This simply is not true.
From day one their plan would force seniors to pay more for prescription drugs and health services because the doughnut hole will be reopened and free wellness visits under Medicare would be eliminated. As a consequence of the reopening of the doughnut hole in my State of New Jersey alone, an estimated 142,800 seniors will pay $80 million more for prescription drugs in 2012. Additionally, the majority's plan to rescind the ban on copays for wellness visits for seniors would force at least 30,000 New Jersey seniors to pay over 3 million more for annual wellness visits next year.
Once the plan takes effect in 2022, out-of-pocket expenses for seniors will soar. A typical 65-year-old in New Jersey would pay $7,060 more in 2022 for health care costs, more than double the cost under current law.
Mr. Speaker, the majority's plan for Medicare does not preserve the program as we know it. Rather, it takes money from seniors' pockets and places them at the mercy of rising insurance costs.