Ryan’s health care plan could hurt seniors (A letter from a Wisconsin voter)


This letter was written by Jerry Hanson

Ryan’s health care plan could hurt seniors

Dear Editor: Paul Ryan’s plan to cut Medicare would eliminate the 80 percent coverage of hospital care and doctors’ visits and replace it with vouchers for seniors to buy private health insurance. Ryan has no answer if the vouchers do not allow seniors to buy enough insurance to match what Medicare now covers. Also, what happens if the premiums rise beyond the value of the vouchers? It would appear that under Ryan’s plan the seniors either pay more at a time in their life when they can least afford it, or they forgo needed medical interventions.

Medicare has held down medical costs by placing limits on the amounts Medicare will pay for medical procedures. To eliminate Medicare and its 80 percent cost-containing mechanism will allow medical costs for seniors to return to the high levels they endured before reaching Medicare eligibility.

It is also questionable whether Ryan’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with “better coverage at less cost for all Americans” as promised by President Trump will materialize. Ryan is now claiming that his plan will offer “access” to health care not actual coverage, Ryan has not acknowledged that he and his fellow congressmen would receive the same coverage that he is proposing for the rest of us.

Ryan’s plan results in Medicare benefits earned through a lifetime of work to lose their value or become unaffordable. Not the way to treat those in the twilight of their lives.


ACA repeal could be a bitter pill for #GOP

ACA repeal should be a bitter pill for GOP 

Unfortunately, it will not be Republicans lawmakers who will have to do the swallowing, but the American people.

The Congressional Budget Office, which historically has mattered when it came to making decisions that could affect millions of people, has given us insight into what it would mean to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

It is important to note that it scored a partial repeal plan, the one passed in 2015. That left certain provisions in place, like covering pre-existing conditions.

The repeal bill would address two main issues. It would repeal the individual and the employer mandates, and it would eliminate spending on both Medicaid expansion and subsidies to help individuals purchase insurance on the individual market. This destabilizes the insurance market by violating the fundamental principles of insurance. This means that the sicker, more vulnerable people with higher costs would remain insured while the younger healthier people would be uninsured. Premium costs are projected to rise 20 to 25 percent in the first year, while cost for insurers would increase enough to drive most from the market.

The CBO further estimates that the deficit would increase by $137 billion in 10 years, but would increase by growing amounts after 2025. The tax effects are an area that Republicans will have to contend with. If Congress decides to immediately repeal all Obamacare taxes, the richest 1 percent would save on average $33,000, while those earning less than $89,000 would have a tax increase. Of those earning less than $25,000, 7 percent would have an average rise of $3,900 in taxes. Those earning $25,00 to $89,000 would see and average increase of $6,200.

In Utah, 175,637 people were insured through the marketplace (ACA) in 2016. Eighty-seven percent of those Utah citizens received premium subsidies. From 2010 to 2015 Utah’s uninsured rate decreased 40 percent to 10.5 percent. Despite this improvement, because Utah did not expand Medicaid, 70,000 Utahns were without access to affordable health care.

Given these thorny issues, Republicans are becoming aware of the challenge facing them. However, Sen. Orrin Hatch’s response in The New York Times indicated perhaps a pervasive miscalculation of what it will take to overcome these projections. He said, “Today’s report shows only part of the equation — a repeal of Obamacare without any transitional policies or reforms to address costs and empower patients. Republicans support repealing Obamacare and implementing step-by-step reforms so that Americans have access to affordable health care.” Rep. Kevin Brady, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, said that the GOP’s replacement efforts would “establish a robust health care marketplace based on innovation, competition, and choice.”

These statements hint at shifting the costs onto people who have no ability to absorb them. To speak of empowering and providing choice to economically disadvantaged citizens, half of whom will live in areas where there are no insurers in the individual market, seems devoid of common sense. To shift the problem back to the states because it is too hard politically to find a viable option would be putting us back to where we were for 50 years.

As citizens with a lot at stake, we will have to insist on rigorous analysis of the various options that are being proposed. We will have to take the CBO seriously. We will have to insist that our economy, our health, and our futures not be destabilized to satisfy a stale, bitter, political promise to repeal Obamacare.

Julie Day, M.D., is Quality Medical Director for the University of Utah Community Physician Group. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily represent her employer.

Republicans revive outrageous plan for Medicare #HandsOffMedicare #ProtectOurCare

Republicans revive outrageous plan for Medicare

In April 2011, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed, in a 2012 budget blueprint, a proposal to replace traditional Medicare with vouchers. This ignited a firestorm of opposition from congressional Democrats, America’s seniors and the general public.

Back then, an analysis of the proposal by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that turning Medicare over to private insurance plans would result in a skyrocketing cost to seniors and higher administrative costs

It is astonishing that after the bashing delivered to Republicans on the “voucher” proposal in 2011 that they would be reviving it again. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Kevin Brady, Chairman, Ways and Means Committee, and Representative Tom Price, Chairman, Budget Committee, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, are among Republican leaders in the U.S. House who support legislation to privatize Medicare by converting it to a “premium support” system.

Just because the Republican Party has majorities in the House and Senate and a Republican President-elect, it is not a mandate to destroy Medicare with a “voucher” plan to pay outright subsidies to insurance companies who make big contributions to many members of Congress.

Randy Stuck


#GOP will hide the cost of repealing ACA #ProtectOurCare #HandsOffMedicare

Letter Opposing Sections of House Resolution 5

January 3, 2017

U. S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.   20515

Dear Representative:

I am writing on behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare to oppose Subsection (o) of Section 3 and Subsection (b) of Section 2 of House Resolution 5, a resolution adopting rules for the House of Representatives for the 115th Congress.

This resolution creates a point of order against legislation to reallocate funds from the Social Security Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund to the Disability Insurance Trust Fund unless it is accompanied by benefit cuts or tax increases that improve the solvency of the combined trust funds. The Disability Trust Fund will run short of revenue to pay full benefits some time in 2023, potentially putting 11 million disability beneficiaries at risk. This provision would make it more difficult to simply rebalance the two funds as has been successfully done 12 times in the past (reallocations have been made in each direction between the two funds) – forcing benefit cuts or tax increases to the Social Security program.

It is hard to believe that there is any purpose to maintaining this unprecedented change to House rules other than to cut benefits for Americans who have worked hard all their lives, paid into Social Security, and rely on their Social Security benefits, including Disability Insurance, in order to survive. Reaffirming this 114th Congress rule has to be regarded as another sad chapter in the House of Representatives’ long history of ensuring that Social Security can continue to meet the needs of the American people.

In addition, I am deeply troubled by the rule in Subsection (b) of Section 2 that requires each standing committee to include in their oversight plans recommendations for moving programs from mandatory to discretionary funding, which would begin the process of dismantling the guaranteed funding mechanisms for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and exposing these programs to the uncertainties of the annual appropriations process.

The National Committee is strongly opposed to these rules changes and the social insurance safety net benefit cuts that would be much more likely to occur as a result.


Max Richtman

President and CEO

Repealing ACA hurts Americans #ProtectOurCare #HandsOffMedicare

Medicare and the Health Law

To the Editor:

Seniors and baby boomers should take note: The rush to repeal and delay the Affordable Care Act will harm them, too.

Like working-class Americans and their families, people with Medicare are at grave risk. Undoing the health law could increase their prescription-drug costs, eliminate access to preventive care, and roll back efforts that stabilized Medicare premiums and cost-sharing.

For people 55 to 64, more than 4.5 million could lose their coverage, and the number of those uninsured could double to nearly 20 percent. Vague replacement frameworks put forward in the past are all clear on at least one point: Insurers could charge even higher premiums than already permitted for this age group.

In fact, some such plans put no limits on how high premiums can go for people at these ages.

Before the Affordable Care Act, people under 65 called our help line every day desperate to find affordable coverage but learned that there was none. If the law is repealed, coverage will again be out of reach until they become eligible for Medicare.



Medicare Rights Center

New York

More scared of Paul Ryan’s plans

Roger Daugherty gives voice to what millions of Americans are feeling about Paul Ryan and his plan for Medicare

More scared of Paul Ryan’s plans

The person who really scares me is House Speaker Paul Ryan and his plans to privatize Medicare and Social Security. Ryan wants to do away with Medicare and issue vouchers. The vouchers would be used to buy private insurance policies.

Does anyone think the vouchers will pay for expensive private policies? Don’t count on it.

It is a ruse to get seniors to pay more out-of-pocket expenses. Many seniors cannot afford that. To Ryan, that is too bad. He does not care.

Seems like all the Republicans want to do is wreck the social safety nets that protect seniors. If so, they should be publicly horse-whipped. Hope the Democrats can stop this nonsense.

Roger Daugherty


Trump’s Health Secretary Pick Leaves Nation’s Doctors Divided — NYT > Politics

The American Medical Association endorsed the choice of Tom Price, a physician, but thousands of doctors have opposed it, citing Mr. Price’s opinions on health care and other issues.

via Trump’s Health Secretary Pick Leaves Nation’s Doctors Divided — NYT > Politics