Ryan’s budget would “grind away” Medicare

By BenefitsPro

By Paula Aven Gladych

The Medicare Rights Center is crying foul about Rep. Paul Ryan’s House budget proposal released Tuesday morning.

Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, said in a statement that Ryan’s budget will force people with Medicare to pay more for less health security and would end Medicare as we know it by replacing guaranteed health benefits with a voucher that seniors and people with disabilities would use to purchase health coverage.

“The Ryan budget falls short as a credible plan to preserve and strengthen Medicare. Most important, this privatization scheme fails to account for the financial realities facing older adults and people with disabilities. There is no guarantee that the Ryan voucher would keep pace with health care inflation, meaning that people with Medicare would pay more,” he said.

Most people in these demographic groups can’t afford additional health care costs, he said. “Half of all people with Medicare—almost 25 million Americans—live on annual incomes of $22,000 or less. Already, people with Medicare spend a significant amount on health care. The average Medicare household spends 15 percent of their total income on health care expenses; three times that of non-Medicare households,” Baker said.

He added that the competitive market envisioned by Ryan would slowly grind away traditional Medicare.

“Although the Ryan budget maintains traditional Medicare as a coverage option, experts predict that younger, healthier retirees will be drawn to private plans, leaving older, sicker people in traditional Medicare. Providing coverage for this vulnerable population will make traditional Medicare more expensive and less able to compete,” Baker said.

He pointed out that Medicare spending is expected to grow at rates of 3.9 percent per person per year over the next 10 years compared to 5 percent for private health insurance.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com