U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor criticized the proposed House Republican budget today because of the dangerous repercussions it would have on older Americans and middle-class families. The budget, which is slated for a House vote this afternoon, would dismantle Medicare as we know it, shift substantial costs to seniors and slash current benefits.
"The Republican budget breaks the fundamental promise this country has made to generations of Americans," Castor said. "The promise is that if you work hard and pay into Medicare, it will be there for you in your retirement and allow you to live your retirement years in dignity. The Republican budget breaks this promise."
The House Republican budget sets up a voucher framework under which seniors would face higher premiums and fewer benefits. At the same time, the budget protects millionaires and corporate tax loopholes and subsidies, including those to oil companies. "Older Americans and their families will be left to wonder whether they will have the ability to pay for visits to the doctor and prescription drugs in their retirement years," Castor said.
"Despite years of hard work and sacrifice, seniors facing increased health care costs risk falling out of the middle class due to these changes to Medicare," Castor continued.
Last week, Castor proposed an amendment to the Republican budget to protect Medicare benefits. The Castor Amendment would have preserved improvements in Medicare benefits that have been in place under the Affordable Care Act, including closing the prescription drug coverage gap (doughnut hole) and covering key preventive services and annual wellness visits without co-pays or deductibles. The amendment was defeated in the Budget Committee by a partisan 21-15 vote.
"Medicare and its assurance that a family will not be bankrupted by a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, cancer or other diseases must be protected," Castor said. "This pillar of retirement security keeps older Americans and their families out of poverty. It is worth saving."