Castor to Vote Against Republican Budget that Harms Medicare
Apr 15, 2011 -
In one of the most high profile votes of the Republican-led Congress, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor announced her intended vote this afternoon against the GOP budget plan to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher system that would reduce benefits and shift costs to older Americans and their families.
“Today’s vote on the Republican budget is one of the most important votes members will ever cast, especially for a Floridian,” Castor said. “The Republican’s plan to end Medicare breaks the promise to older Americans that after a lifetime of work they will be able to depend on Medicare to protect them in retirement.”
The Republican Medicare plan would replace Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program to cover health care expenses through private insurance companies. Rather than direct relationships with their personal doctors, seniors would be at the mercy of private insurance companies, and the value of the voucher would decline over time. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the Republican proposal and found that it would more than double Medicare beneficiary costs in 2022, from $5,538 to $12,513.
“Not one dollar of that increase goes to reducing the deficit. Instead, it would go to cover the higher costs of private plans that Republicans would force seniors to join,” Castor said.
The average senior would be forced to pay twice the cost, for what could be half the benefits. Benefits seniors enjoy under present-day Medicare would be unobtainable because of increased premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Combined with the immediate, dramatic and harmful cuts to nursing home care per Medicaid reduced services, all older Americans and their families have reason to be worried.
“Medicare has allowed our parents and grandparents to live in dignity in their retirement years,” Castor said. “Medicare is a promise we have made to each other. The Republican budget shreds the contract with older Americans that, after a lifetime of work, the cost of health care and long-term care will not bankrupt them and their families. Medicare has been a pillar of retirement security and has kept families out of poverty for decades. The Republican plan to destroy Medicare does not save money. It simply shifts the costs to older Americans and their families.”
Castor has been vocal in her criticism of the Republican plan. She spoke on the House floor last week and again last night, saying we need to save Medicare. She also held a telephone town hall Wednesday night with AARP to outline Medicare benefits under the Affordable Care Act and how proposed Republican changes could affect seniors and younger generations.
“The high-profile vote today demonstrates the stark differences in our outlook for our great country,” Castor said. “At a time when we need to be focused on creating jobs, the Republican plan to end Medicare, slash investments in education and eliminate future transportation initiatives is a pessimistic and unnecessary course. While we all agree that we must tackle the debt, the Republican plan has the wrong priorities. It is focused on helping corporate special interests and Wall Street, not reducing the deficit or helping the country with investments in our seniors, our students and our infrastructure.”