The Republican-led House of Representatives voted 219-205 on April 10 to approve a 2015 budget plan unveiled last week by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Ryan’s plan would make sharp cuts to Medicare, as well as other domestic programs such as Medicaid and food stamps, while lowering taxes for corporations and high income individuals. It would also repeal the Affordable Care Act. All of the House Democrats and twelve Republicans voted against the plan. It offers a vision of Republican budget priorities heading into this year’s mid-term elections. For a tally of the vote, go to//tinyurl.com/krjj3em.
Ryan’s plan would give seniors a coupon to pay for Medicare, cutting benefits and shifting costs to retirees. A voucher would give seniors a fixed amount to purchase a plan, forcing them to cover the difference between the amount of the voucher and the actual cost of the plan.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, premiums for traditional Medicare under Ryan’s proposal would be 50% higher than current projections by 2020. Yearly increases in voucher amounts are also not expected to keep pace with growth in health care costs, forcing seniors to cover an increasing proportion of health costs over time.
“Seniors hope that Thursday’s vote shows the public what would happen if the Ryan budget were to be passed by the U.S. Senate: they would pay dearly,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.
“Ryan’s dangerous budget proposal would end the Medicare guarantee and cause seniors’ out of pocket health expenses to skyrocket,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.