House Republicans on the Ways & Means Committee have released their plans for Medicare.  This is the second proposal offering benefit cuts and/or cost shifting for seniors from the Committee, following release of the GOP’s Social Security plan earlier this month:

Congressional Quarterly details their draft legislation:

“The biggest direct change for beneficiaries would be the higher premiums for Parts B and D based on a beneficiary’s income, beginning in 2017. Although beneficiaries with annual individual incomes of $85,000 or more currently pay higher monthly premiums, the draft bill would increase the amount of premiums and the number of beneficiaries paying the higher amounts.

As Obama proposed in his budget, the draft bill would increase the lowest income-related premium from 35 percent to 40 percent, and increase the premiums for other income brackets, with a cap of 90 percent at the highest tier.

The draft bill would maintain the income thresholds associated with those premiums until 25 percent of beneficiaries are subject to the higher premiums. The change would save $56.3 billion over 10 years, according to the CBO.

The proposal also would apply a $25 increase to the Part B deductible in 2017, 2019, and 2021 for new Medicare beneficiaries. The CBO estimated this would save $3.3 billion over 10 years.

Finally, the proposal would add a new $100 copayment for home health episodes for new beneficiaries beginning in 2017, which the CBO estimated would save $700 million over 10 years.”

While some in Congress, including President Obama, claim further means-testing Medicare only impacts “wealthy” seniors, nothing could be further from the truth.  In reality, this means-testing proposal will hit 25% of beneficiaries.  A Kaiser Family Foundation study found seniors earning just $47,000 will be targeted with these higher premiums.  Since when is a $47,000 annual income considered “wealthy?”  In Washington, only when it comes to American seniors apparently. This proposal also does absolutely nothing to tackle the rising cost of health care system-wide. Instead, it just passes those costs directly to seniors.

House Republicans say they want your reaction to their plans to shift costs to seniors.  So, let’s give it to them.  Email Chairman Dave Camp at:

[email protected]