Republicans Press Forward With Budget that Makes the Wrong Choices: Ends Medicare As We Know It, Raises Costs for Seniors

This week, Senate Republicans vote on the Republican budget that makes the wrong choices for how to address our nation’s deficits: it ends Medicare as we know it, raises costs for seniors, and gives tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. The Republican budget attempts to bring down the deficit on the backs of seniors by:
  • Raising seniors health care costs by more than $6,000 per year:

  • Reopening the prescription drug donut hole, costing an estimated 4 million seniors who fall into the coverage gap up to $44 billion by 2020, including $2.2 billion in 2012 alone
  • Increasing the cost of wellness visits, forcing at least one million seniors and people with disabilities to pay over $110 million more for this critical service in 2012.
  • Requiring 54-year-olds to save an additional $182,000 more just to cover health care costs

The Republican budget has the wrong priorities and makes the wrong choices for seniors and middle class families. And the plan has proved to be deeply unpopular with the American people.

In an AP-GfK poll released this week, three out of five Americans said they view Medicare and Social Security as vital to their basic financial security as they age. They also trust Democrats more to do a better job of handling Social Security by 52 percent to 34 percent, and Medicare by 54 percent to 33 percent.

That should make it clear that Republicans should abandon their plan and instead work with Democrats on a bipartisan solution. But Republicans are continuing to press forward with their budget, fiercely criticizing those who have expressed concerns over the plan, including Newt Gingrich, who disparaged the Republican plan only to backtrack and apologize under pressure from conservatives:

“Republican House members brought this on themselves by voting nearly unanimously for the Ryan plan, so caught up in ideological fervor and hubris that they failed to anticipate the inevitable voter backlash. While the House leadership has acknowledged that the Medicare plan will not pass, the party will not allow any dissent. When Newt Gingrich called the plan ‘right-wing social engineering,’ he was all but shunned from the presidential nomination race, and was forced to recant and apologize.” [NY Times, 05/21/11]

And ahead of the vote, Republican Senators are doubling down on their support of the plan:

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “McConnell has made it clear, according to reports, that he will vote for Ryan’s plan…” [The Hill, 05/22/11]

Sen Jon. Kyl (R-AZ): “I will vote for the Ryan budget. I will advocate for the Ryan budget.” [Fox News, 05/23/11]

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL): “Paul Ryan is leading… Speaker Boehner is leading. House Republicans are leading.” [Washington Post, 05/23/11]

While Republicans stand by their plan to try to bring down deficits on the backs of seniors, Democrats continue to stand ready to work together on a path forward to reduce our deficit while supporting job creation and growing the economy.

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