GOP Budget Chairman Paul Ryan introduced his 2012 budget plan several weeks ago that would end Medicare as we know it.
The Ryan plan would replace the current Medicare program with vouchers and leave seniors and the disabled – some of our most vulnerable Americans – hostage to the whims of the private marketplace. Over time, this will destroy the only health insurance program available to 47 million Americans. Vouchers are designed not to keep up with the increasing cost of health insurance… that is why they save money.” Max Richtman, NCPSSM Executive Vice President
On April 15, House Republicans voted to pass this budget. Now, GOP Representatives are home in their districts trying to sell this “CouponCare” proposal to their constituents. People aren’t buying it. As Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) praised Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan at a recent Town Hall meeting, 64-year-old constituent Linda Christman spoke up:
"Excuse me, I'd like to get something off my chest," she said, standing. "You seem to think that because I'm not effected I won't care if my niece, my grandson, my child is affected. I do care. What you're doing with this Ryan budget is you're taking Medicare and changing it from a guaranteed health care system to one that is a voucher system where you throw seniors on the mercy of for-profit insurance companies."
Although supporters of Paul Ryan’s plan claim they are “saving” Medicare for future generations, they are quick to mention these changes won’t affect current Medicare beneficiaries. Something’s not adding up:
That message is crucial if Republicans hope to win support for their plan to privatize the popular government-run program, said John Feehery of Quinn Gillespie Communications and a former Republican congressional staffer. "In order to be able to sell it, you've got to come up with a communications plan that tells senior citizens that are 55 and over that this is not going to touch you," Feehery said.
People under 55 are getting a raw deal. The Republicans know it. So do seniors. They’re not swayed by reassurances about their own benefits because they also care deeply about the future of Medicare for their own children and future generations of beneficiaries. Poll after poll confirms what we already know. Americans support Medicare and oppose cuts and believe the program is successful in helping older people access needed health care. It’s encouraging to see people speaking up. Linda Christman isn’t the only person asking her representative to be honest about this proposal. Several other papers picked up stories of constituents opposing the Paul Ryan Medicare plan. If you want to contact your representative, go to our Legislative Action Center and send the letter “GOP Budget Wants to Turn Medicare Over to Private Insurance Companies.”