Noem Sacrifices Seniors for Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

South Dakota’s seniors and families in need lost to Congresswoman Kristi Noem and Washington Republicans, who voted today to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid.

“Congresswoman Kristi Noem had the opportunity to demonstrate her commitment to South Dakota’s 135,167 seniors,” Ben Nesselhuf, Chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party said. “Instead, she voted to end America’s commitment to its seniors, soon-to-be seniors, people with disabilities and families in need in order to finance $2.9 trillion in new tax cuts for the wealthy.”

The Republican Party’s budget proposal, passed in the US House of Representatives by 235 to 193, will radically change how America cares for seniors and families in[More…] need. Their plan dismantles Medicare to create a voucher program for seniors and shifts federal Medicaid costs to states through a block grant program.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2030, the value of a voucher given to seniors in place of Medicare would only cover 30% of the cost of a private insurance policy equivalent to Medicare in its current form.

As a result of the GOP’s plan to dismantle Medicare, seniors will end up spending more than half of their entire income on healthcare. That’s more than double what seniors pay today.

Noem’s claim that ending Medicare to save Medicare makes no sense, Nesselhuf alleged. “South Dakota seniors – Democrat and Republican – depend on Medicare. By voting to dismantle Medicare, Noem has decided that our seniors’ health care is worth sacrificing to stand with Washington Republican elites and provide more tax cuts for the wealthy.”

The independent Tax Policy Center estimates that all of the purported savings from the spending cuts of the Republican Party’s proposed budget would go to pay for additional tax cuts for the wealthy – not to reduce the deficit. In fact, the CBO estimates that this plan will lead to bigger deficits and more debt over the next decade.

If you would like more information on why Democrats support Medicare, please contact Chairman Ben Nesselhuf at 605-271-5405 or ben@sddp.org.

###

Background:

Noem Votes for 2012 Budget

Roll Call: 235 yeas, including Congresswoman Kristi Noem, 193 nays. [U.S. House of Representatives, 4.15.11]

End Medicare

“The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]

Seniors’ Healthcare Costs Would Rise

“Under the proposal, most elderly people who would be entitled to premium support payments would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system. For a typical 65-year-old with average health spending enrolled in a plan with benefits similar to those currently provided by Medicare, CBO estimated the beneficiary’s spending on premiums and out-of-pocket expenditures as a share of a benchmark amount: what total health care spending would be if a private insurer covered the beneficiary. By 2030, the beneficiary’s share would be 68 percent of that benchmark under the proposal, 25 percent under the extended-baseline scenario, and 30 percent under the alternative fiscal scenario.” [Congressional Budget Office, 4/5/11]

“According to the Social Security trustees, the benefit for a medium wage earner who first starts collecting benefits at age 65 in 2030 would be $32,200. (This adjusts the benefit projected by the Social Security trustees [$19,652 in 2010 dollars] for the 2.5 percent annual inflation rate assumed by CBO.) For close to 70 percent of seniors, Social Security is more than half of their retirement income. Most seniors will get a benefit that is less than the medium earners benefit described here since their average earnings are less than that of a medium earner and they start collecting Social Security benefits before age 65… Furthermore, the portion of income going to health care costs will increase through time according to the CBO analysis. This is due both to aging of individuals and to increasing health care costs through time. [Center on Economic and Policy Research, 4.6.11]

Republican Plan Brings Back “Donut Hole” Coverage Gap for Prescription Drugs

Ryan’s plan brings back the coverage “gap in Medicare prescription drug” benefit. [Associated Press, 4/06/11]

Medicaid Block Grants Shift Costs to States

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s radical proposal to convert Medicaid to a block grant, which the House will consider this week as part of Ryan’s sweeping budget plan, would have cut federal Medicaid funds to most states by more than 25 percent by 2009 and to several of them by more than 40 percent if it had been in effect starting in 2000, according to a new Center on Budget analysis.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/12/11]

Cutting healthcare for Cutting Taxes

“Representative Paul Ryan’s proposal to lower the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25 percent would require Congress to eliminate more than $2.9 trillion worth of tax breaks over the next decade, according to a new analysis. [Bloomberg via Tax Policy Center, 4/7/11]

Unemployment and Spending Estimates Improbable:

“Except briefly during the Korean War, the United States has never achieved unemployment as low as Ryan and co. are claiming. The Fed believes that the lowest unemployment rate compatible with price stability is between 5 and 6 percent — that is, twice what Ryan is claiming he will achieve. [Paul Krugman, 4/5/11]

“The path for all other federal spending excluding interest—that is, for discretionary spending and mandatory spending apart from that for Social Security and the major mandatory health care programs—was specified by Chairman Ryan’s staff.” [See Table 2 titled “Federal Spending Excluding Interest,” Congressional Budget Office, (PDF) 4/5/11 ]

Read more posts in Press Releases • Tagged as , , , • Permalink