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Is the GOP trying to raise healthcare costs for future retirees?

by Adam Russett on April 6, 2011

One of the latest efforts to combat the national deficit comes in the form of House GOP Budget chairman Paul Ryan's plan to cut $4.4 trillion over the next 10 years, but some say that it could end up hurting retirees.

Joe Baker, the President of the Medicare Rights Center, wrote on SeniorJournal.com that Ryan's legislation would require older adults to "pay more for health care [while] the federal government pays a lot less. The proposal ends Medicare as we know it today, replacing Medicare’s guaranteed benefits with a 'premium support' payment or voucher that consumers can use to buy private insurance."

One contention is that the plan largely ignores the idea of shared sacrifice, letting pharmaceutical and insurance companies to keep paying the same prices while hiking the rates for Medicare beneficiaries. Obama's Affordable Healthcare Act, which was lauded by many as making healthcare available to millions of Americans, would be completely repealed.

Medicaid would also face sharp cuts.

Democrats have decried the plan, saying that it places an undue burden on the poor and disabled while allowing for further profits for corporations. In fact, CBS News reports that the proposal would lower corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent, while hoping to close some tax loopholes.

Social Security was another target by the draft, which mandates that if the program becomes unsustainable, federal bodies will have to come together to work for a new solution.

Ryan's plan would also lift the moratoriums in place on drilling initiatives, which could end up sending oil companies to previously guarded oil hotspots such as those in Alaska.

Overall, the controversial measures have already drawn public ire. The New Republic reports that the tax policies are "regressive" and most Republicans refuse to acknowledge them at all, because they could be seen as cuts for the wealthy.  

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