Congressional Republicans' plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system could have dire consequences for Medicare patients in the Fourth District, according to a new analysis by the House Committee on Ways & Means. The new Medicare proposal was passed by House Republicans in April as part of their budget plan.
"We can't ask senior citizens who have paid into Medicare to shoulder the burden of our nation's skyrocketing health insurance premiums. We do need to reform many programs throughout the federal government, to both cut waste to reduce the out-of-control increases in health care costs and to ensure these programs are viable for this generation and the next," said Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT). "We should improve these programs, not destroy them. I voted against the Republican budget because it would shift much of the risk and burden of rising health care costs onto seniors."
The Republican proposal would deny 530,000 individuals age 54 and younger in the Fourth District access to Medicare's guaranteed benefits. Their plan will:
* Increase the out-of-pocket costs of health coverage by over $6,000 for each and every senior.
* Cost 126,000 individuals in the district between the ages of 44 and 54 an additional $29.4 billion in retirement -- an average of $182,000 to $287,000 per individual -- to pay for health coverage over their lifetimes. Younger residents pay even more to cover their additional medical costs.
Most problematic are their proposed cuts to current Medicare beneficiaries. In the Fourth District:
* 9,200 Medicare patients who enter the Part D prescription drug donut hole would be forced to pay an extra $91 million for their medicine over the next decade.
* 99,000 Medicare beneficiaries would lose their coverage for free preventative care, like cancer screenings and blood tests.