Today, Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman released a new report on the impacts of the Republican budget, written by Rep. Paul Ryan and supported by Governor Mitt Romney, on seniors in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Rep. Ryan's budget raises costs for seniors currently enrolled in Medicare, reduces their benefits, and ends Medicare's fundamental guarantee of coverage and affordability. It makes extreme cuts to Medicaid, threatening millions of seniors who rely on the program to pay for nursing home care and other medical costs. And it slashes support for food stamps and affordable housing programs, threatening the seniors who rely on those programs to make ends meet. The Ryan budget also cuts programs that protect seniors from criminal fraud and consumer scams.
"The Republican budget would be terrible for Los Angeles seniors," said Rep. Waxman. "Seniors have earned their Medicare benefits, but the Ryan budget would end important new preventive care and prescription drug benefits, turn Medicare into a voucher program, make extreme cuts to Medicaid, and threaten seniors who rely on federal help to afford their food and housing. These proposals would have a devastating impact on seniors now and for generations to come."
The report shows that under the Republican plan as many as 1.4 million Medicare beneficiaries in Los Angeles will lose important new preventive care benefits and that 100,000 Los Angeles seniors will lose Medicare coverage for the costs of their drugs in the Part D donut hole. The Medicaid cuts would threaten nursing home care for 25,000 Los Angeles seniors, reducing benefits by as much as $11,000 per senior annually.
Within the next decade, the Ryan budget would turn Medicare into a voucher program, forcing Los Angeles seniors who choose to remain in traditional Medicare to pay thousands of dollars more in premiums. And the Republican plan will place seniors at increased risk of fraud and elder abuse by cutting funding by as much as $6 billion for consumer protection and law enforcement programs.
Finally, the Ryan Budget would threaten seniors who receive food stamps or federal help to remain in affordable housing. It would raise food costs for the 53,000 LA households with seniors who rely on food stamps by as much as $1,100 per year, and it would threaten affordable housing programs that provide rental support for 62,000 LA households with seniors.