Will Noem Stand Up for Seniors in South Dakota?

Now that Republicans and Democrats have forged a deal on the latest 2011 Continuing budget Resolution, Congresswoman Kristi Noem must take a stand on the Republican Party’s plan to dismantle Medicare for seniors as part of the 2012 budget.

Will Noem stand up to the Republican Party’s controversial plan to make Medicare a voucher program at an increased costs to seniors, or will Noem stand up for the 135,167 South Dakota seniors on Medicare?

Congresswoman Noem supported Rep. Paul Ryan, now the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, in an earlier proposal to dismantle Medicare and privatize Social Security and then denied she ever supported Ryan’s plan. Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal, the official budget proposal of the Republican Party, effectively ends Medicare for seniors as we know it.

“Noem’s commitment to seniors and soon-to-be seniors in South Dakota will be defined by her defense or opposition to the Republican Party’s plan to dismantle Medicare,” said Ben Nesselhuf, Chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party.

“The Republican Party has shown its cards; it’s time for Noem to decide if seniors should receive coupons for healthcare, at dramatically higher cost to seniors, or if seniors deserve the reliable, affordable access to healthcare that Medicare now provides,” Nesselhuf said.

The Congressional Budget Office says Ryan’s budget proposal to make Medicare a voucher program will cost seniors more for health care, and Ryan has not disputed the CBO’s assessment.

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:

House Republican Budget Dismantles Medicare
The budget proposal release today would dramatically change Medicare by turning it into a voucher based system and direct Medicare funds to private insurance companies instead of consumers. [House Republican Budget, accessed 4/5/11]

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]

Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan agreed that his plan for Medicare “would be to shift more of the burden of health care costs out of their own pockets to seniors.” [Fox News Sunday, 4/3/11]

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]

Kristi Noem Supported the Ryan Budget
In May 2010, when asked if she supported the Republican budget proposed by Paul Ryan, Noem said, “it is a great place to start and the right direction for this country to go.” [Rapid City Journal, 5/11/10]

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