The Republican budget makes the wrong choices on entitlements, too. Democrats are committed to reducing the deficit and ensuring Medicare and Medicaid are strong for generations to come. Instead of bending the cost curve on health care spending, the Republican budget shifts costs to seniors by ending Medicare as we know it and dismantling Medicaid:
“Republicans say the health care proposals would help the federal government predict and control its costs under Medicaid and Medicare, which insure more than 100 million people and account for more than one-fifth of the federal budget. But if, as many economists predict, health costs continue to rise at a rapid clip, beneficiaries of these programs would be at risk for more of the costs.” [NY Times, 4/5/11]
“Federal health programs for seniors, the poor and people with disabilities would be slashed and transformed under a 2012 budget being unveiled today by House Republicans.” [USA Today, 4/5/11]
“With the federal deficit in their sights, Republicans are preparing a budget proposal that would reportedly trim $4 trillion in government spending over the next decade. How do they do it? Ending Medicare as we know it is a key part.” [NPR, 4/4/11]
“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.” [WSJ, 4/4/11]
“This week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will announce the House Republicans’ budget plan, which is expected to include cuts in many programs for the neediest Americans. The Ryan budget’s central purpose will not be deficit reduction but the gradual dismantling of key parts of government.” [E.J. Dionne, Washington Post, 4/3/11]
“Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare and Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicaid rely on the same bait-and-switch: They use a reform to disguise a cut... In Medicare’s case, the reform is privatization…. In Medicaid’s case, the reform is block-granting… To my knowledge, Ryan’s budget doesn’t attempt to reform the medical-care sector. It just has cuts. The hope is that those cuts will force consumers to be smarter shoppers and doctors to be more economical and states to be more innovative. But all that’s been tried, and it hasn’t been enough.” [Ezra Klein, Washington Post, 4/4/11]
When asked which programs they were willing to see cut by Congress, 91% of Americans said they wanted to see no or only minor reductions in Medicare and 86% wanted to see no or only minor reductions in Medicaid, according to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The Republican budget clearly doesn’t share the priorities of the American people.