Ryan Medicare Plan Eliminates Health Security For America’s Seniors

In 2011, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced a controversial plan that he claimed would “save” Medicare. The proposal was included in the House budget, which passed the lower chamber with nearly unanimous support from Republicans but was voted down in the Senate. The Medicare debate rages on, however, and the facts about the Ryan plan are too often obscured by the aggressive spin of its supporters and distracting arguments about the definition of words like “end” and “voucher.” Whatever the right wants to call it, the Ryan plan is radical legislation that would hurt millions of Americans who rely on Medicare for health security.

Ryan Plan Would “Essentially End” Medicare For Future Seniors…

Ryan Plan Transforms Medicare Into A “Premium Support System.” According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s overview of the Ryan plan: “The proposal would gradually transform Medicare into what is described as a ‘premium support system.’ Beginning in 2022, all newly-eligible Medicare beneficiaries (i.e., individuals turning 65 as well as younger, disabled individuals becoming eligible for Medicare) would only have access to health coverage through private insurance plans, rather than through the current government-run Medicare program (i.e., traditional Medicare), or under a Medicare Advantage plan. Under the new premium support system, Medicare beneficiaries would be entitled to a payment from the federal government to help defray premiums and other health care costs under the plan. The government would make payments directly to private health plans on behalf of Medicare eligible enrollees, rather than pay hospitals, physicians, and other medical providers directly for the services provided to their Medicare-eligible patients, as is currently the case. If the government payments to plans on behalf of enrollees were insufficient to cover premiums and/or other costs, beneficiaries would be responsible for additional costs. In other words, Medicare would no longer provide coverage for medical care, but instead provide a ‘subsidy’ toward the purchase of a private health insurance plan.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, April 2011, emphasis added]

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Rep. Jordan: People On Food Stamps Think It’s “Okay For Someone Else To Be Responsible For Them Being Fed”

From Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) August 4, 2012, speech at RedState Gathering:

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Finally I want to mention this: It’s not just about the money. That’s important, but it’s the cultural concerns as well. I mean, I never– I never intended to get involved in politics. I was a wrestling coach. I was assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University. I was gonna help student athletes try to get to their goals and dreams on the wrestling mat, and I liked doing that. But you get married, you have kids, you start looking at the world different. You get tired of government taking your money, insulting your values, telling you what to do. And I decided to run for office. And the cultural concerns are one of the things that got me involved in politics. We do also – while we’re working on the things I described – we do also have to remember that life is precious and we should protect it. That family is important, it’s the first institution the good lord put together. Before the state, before the church, it was the family, and we should—we should have policies that emphasize those key facts as well– Think about this. Forty-eight million Americans today are on food stamps. One in seven Americans now believe it is okay for someone else to be responsible for them being fed. That is sad. The greatest country in the world, one in seven.

What Americans Lose If Conservatives Get Their Way On The Affordable Care Act

After several failed attempts to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act, conservative candidates are persisting in making the destruction of the landmark health care reform law a campaign issue, with many promising to do away with the law come 2013. But the benefits in the law are already kicking in, and repealing the law would affect millions of Americans who are already seeing lower health care costs, better services, and protection against industry abuses.

Repeal Would Kick Millions Off Their Insurance

Up To 30 Million Could Lose Coverage Gained As A Result Of The Affordable Care Act. From the Congressional Budget Office: “CBO and JCT now estimate that the ACA, in comparison with prior law before the enactment of the ACA, will reduce the number of nonelderly people without health insurance coverage by 14 million in 2014 and by 29 million or 30 million in the latter part of the coming decade, leaving 30 million nonelderly residents uninsured by the end of the period.” [CBO.gov, July 2012]

Up To 6.6 Million Young Adults Would Lose Health Care Coverage Through Their Parents’ Plans. From the Los Angeles Times: “President Obama’s healthcare law helped as many as 6.6 million young adults stay on or get on their parents’ health plans in the first year and a half after the law was signed, a new survey indicates. […] Earlier surveys by the federal government found that the number of people ages 19 to 25 without insurance declined after the law was signed, reversing years of erosion in health coverage for young adults.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/8/12]

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Private-Sector Recovery Diminished By Shrinking Government Payrolls

It’s unremarkable for President Obama’s opponents to deride his career in public service; ever since Ronald Reagan ran into term limits, conservatives have insisted that business experience is more important in the White House than intellect, vision, and policy knowledge. But conservative reverence for the business world and disdain for government work is so dogmatic today that Republicans often claim that Obama’s policies have primarily, or even only, benefitted the public sector at the expense of the private economy. This is nonsense. The primary difference between the Obama recovery and the previous three post-recession economies, other than the depth of the crater Wall Street’s actions created, is that where government payrolls expanded under Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Reagan, the public sector has shed well over half a million jobs since the end of the recession. Meanwhile, private-sector hiring has been far more consistent than conservatives would have you believe.

3.3 Million New Private-Sector Jobs Since Recession, But 640,000 Government Employees Out Of Work

Recession Officially Ran From December 2007 To June 2009, Making It The Longest Since World War II. From the National Bureau of Economic Research: “The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months. In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.” [NBER.org, 9/20/10]

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Unequal America: The Facts About Income Inequality And Economic Mobility

The American economic pie may have increased in size, but 95 percent of Americans are getting a smaller slice than in the past. This is partly because the top 1 percent of the country has nearly quadrupled the size of its own helping. Their nearly 300 percent increase in take-home pay over that time dwarfs the more modest progress of the rest. Furthermore, while conservatives allege that progressives seek equal outcomes for all, at the cost of American economic freedom, the fact is our storied “equality of opportunity” is overstated. Economic mobility is scarce in the U.S. compared to other advanced economies, and most born into wealth or poverty stay more or less where they started.

Earnings Have Exploded For The Top 1 Percent, While Everyone Else Has Seen Much More Modest Growth

Economic Boom Following World War II Saw Income Gains “Distributed Rapidly Across Income Classes.” From the Economic Policy Institute’s State of Working America: “Between 1947 and 1973, economic growth was both rapid and distributed equally across income classes. The poorest 20% of families saw growth at least as fast as the richest 20% of families, and everybody in between experienced similar rates of income growth. Since then, growth in average living standards has unambiguously slowed. Between 1973 and 1995, growth in productivity, or how much income can be generated in each hour of work, collapsed to less than half the rate that characterized the previous quarter century.” [The State Of Working America, accessed 3/7/12]

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The Truth About Tax Cuts For The Rich, Deregulation, And Job Creation

Despite demanding immediate deficit reduction in a difficult economy, conservatives insist that any increase in tax rates for top income earners will kill jobs. Instead, they argue for lowering tax rates on the wealthiest Americans (while downplaying the deficit impact of such a tax cut) as way to increase hiring. There is no evidence for this argument, however intuitive it may seem. Lower tax rates on the rich are not associated with more hiring or stonger GDP growth, and while conservatives insist that top income tax rates hit small businesses heavily, their ludicrous definition of “small business” renders that statement meaningless. Along with the threat of higher taxes, conservatives insist that federal regulations are holding back job creation and have made loosening the rules a focus of their agenda. However, tax breaks for the wealthy and deregulation do almost nothing to increase consumer demand, which is the true driver of hiring and expansion decisions.

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Crossroads GPS: “News”

Crossroads GPS attacks President Obama’s economic record with a clip of a CBS News report stating that “this is the worst economic recovery America has ever had.” Blaming the president for high unemployment, the ad fails to acknowledge the severity of the Bush recession, which caused the economy to continue to shed hundreds of thousands of jobs in the first months of the Obama administration, and the GOP-favored public-sector downsizing that’s led to government layoffs. Far from ‘failing,’ the Recovery Act helped avert an even more severe economic collapse.

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Rep. Paul Ryan’s Severely Conservative Budget Benefits The Rich At The Expense Of The Vulnerable

Those familiar with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) last budget proposal won’t be shocked at this year’s updated “Path to Prosperity,” a fiscal plan for 2013 and beyond that pledges policy prescriptions for “safeguarding America from the perils of debt, doubt and decline.” Like the old version of the “Path,” Ryan’s second attempt at engineering fiscal policy – including recommendations for overhauling the tax code, cutting spending, and reforming Medicare and Medicaid – takes an axe to federal spending that benefits those without political or economic power but showers tax breaks on the wealthy. With its absence of reasonable solutions for lowering debt and its far-fetched proposals to shift the country’s fiscal burdens onto the poor and middle class, the latest Ryan plan is at heart the same as the old one: A blueprint not for stabilizing the country’s fiscal situation but for forcing an ultra-conservative vision on the federal government.

Ryan Plan’s Cuts Are Enormous, Unrealistic, And Wouldn’t Balance The Budget Until 2040

The New Ryan Plan Proposes Even Larger Deficit Cuts Than Last Year’s GOP Budget. From the Associated Press: “This year’s GOP measure would produce deficit estimates that are significantly lower than a comparable measure passed by the House a year ago, claiming deficit cuts totaling $3.3 trillion – spending cuts of $5.3 trillion tempered by $2 trillion in lower taxes – below Obama over the coming decade. The deficit in 2015, for example, would drop to about $300 billion from $1.2 trillion for the current budget year. Last year’s GOP draft called for a 2015 deficit more than $100 billion higher.” [Associated Press via HuffingtonPost.com, 3/20/12]

The New Ryan Budget Cuts Spending By $100 Billion From This Year To Next. From the Associated Press: “The measure would cut spending from $3.6 trillion this year to the $3.5 trillion range in 2013 and freeze it at that level for two more years.” [Associated Press via HuffingtonPost.com, 3/20/12]

The New Ryan Budget Cuts Spending By $5 Trillion Over The Next Ten Years. From Bloomberg: “House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan today proposed reducing spending by $5 trillion over the next decade from the U.S. budget with Medicaid, food stamps, Pell college tuition grants and other programs facing reductions.” [Bloomberg, 3/20/12]

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Conservative Hostility To Women’s Rights Doesn’t Stop At Health Care

Amid a decades-long crusade against abortion rights and a more recent uproar over access to contraceptives, conservatives’ efforts to intrude upon women’s control over their own health care are well publicized. But the GOP of recent years has also demonstrated that women’s physical safety, economic security, and equal access to the workforce are increasingly low on the priority list. For the first time since its initial 1994 passage, the GOP has put up a fight against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans on both the state and national level have sneered at the need for laws that address the fact that women still earn only about 75 percent of what men do for performing the same jobs. Conservatives have rejected legislation to mandate paid parental leave – something every other economically advanced country in the world requires. They are skeptical about allowing women to serve in military combat roles despite an on-the-ground reality that already puts women in dangerous combat situations. And they are dismissive of an Equal Rights Amendment that would afford the same weight to sex-based discrimination that the 14th Amendment currently gives race-based discrimination.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act, First Passed In 1994, Is A Multifaceted Effort To Address Violence Against Women. From the Urban Institute: “In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as Title IV of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (P.L. 103-322). This event marked a turning point in federal recognition of the extent and seriousness of violence against women, and a commitment to address the problem from the federal vantage point. […] The resulting Violence Against Women Act for the first time recognizes the common barriers to legal protection faced by women victims of violent crimes. The four subtitles within the Act—the Safe Streets Act, Safe Homes for Women, Civil Rights for Women and Equal Justice for Women in the Courts, and Protections for Battered Immigrant Women and Children—target domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and protection against gender-motivated violence. The Act undertakes reform in legislation, rules of evidence, and the policies and procedures of law enforcement agencies and the courts. It creates new offenses and tougher penalties, mandates victim restitution, and begins system reforms that will, for example, shield victims during prosecution and increase consistency in sentencing. Recognizing that attitudinal change and knowledge are essential to practical implementation of legal reforms, VAWA authorizes support for prevention, education, and training and the development of systems for maintaining records on violent incidents and perpetrators and improving communication within the justice system.” [Urban.org, 3/1/96]

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Rep. Broun On President Obama: “He Is A Dictator”

From a podcast interview with Jason Pye on July 29, 2012:

PYE (HOST): The use of executive privilege for a situation like this, where the president says he’s not involved, but he’s using this privilege to cover up — I mean, that indicates — he may not be involved, but it certainly indicates some involvement, or it kind of poitns to that at least.

REP. PAUL BROUN (R-GA): You’re absolutely right. This whole thing stinks. Terribly. And the American people need to know that when they go to the polls in November, they need to remember these types of things. We see this president acting in a very dictatorial manner. And if Congress lets him continue it, he is a dictator, and it’s our fault.

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