American Future Fund praises Heidi Heitkamp’s character, but suggests North Dakota voters shouldn’t support her because Rep. Rick Berg offers a better vision for government. AFF illustrates that contrast by talking about the Medicare spending reductions in the Affordable Care Act, which the ad claims are “putting seniors at risk.” But while Heitkamp was in North Dakota voicing support for President Obama’s health care law, Berg was in Congress voting for the exact same ‘cuts’ – twice.Read more after the jump.
Politicians & Pundits: Paul Ryan
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is out with an updated version of his fiscal blueprint for the country, replacing last year’s widely panned plan to effectively end Medicare by turning it into a voucher system with an only slightly less destructive concoction. In his latest proposal, Ryan pitches a premium-support system that would offer seniors a voucher to buy either traditional Medicare or a private plan, purporting to control costs by allowing competition. But the vouchers wouldn’t be able to keep up with rapidly rising medical costs, shifting the burden onto beneficiaries and eventually rendering traditional Medicare an unviable program.
Click here to read more about the Medicare overhaul in Rep. Ryan’s previous budget, which was passed by the House GOP in 2011.
The New Ryan Budget Undermines Medicare
The 2013 Ryan Budget “Reiterates Republicans’ Call Last Year For Overhauling Medicare.” From Bloomberg: “The proposal reiterates Republicans’ call last year for overhauling Medicare, though with some changes reflecting a compromise plan Ryan of Wisconsin has since written with Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat. It would offer seniors, starting in 2023, subsidies they could use to buy private health insurance or use in Medicare. Either way, benefits would be capped, which would be a major change in how the open-ended program now operates.” [Bloomberg, 3/20/12]Read more after the jump.
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]Read more after the jump.
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]Read more after the jump.
Crossroads GPS attacks Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-ND) over his support for the Affordable Care Act. Using the GOP’s long-debunked assertion that the health care law adds $700 billion to the debt, the ad ignores the fact that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly found that the law will reduce the deficit. The ad also repeats the worn-out claim that Obamacare cuts $500 billion from Medicare, and omits important details when it warns about a “new tax on Ohio manufacturers.”Read more after the jump.
President Obama’s opponents have spent more than three years blaming him for the economic mess the Bush administration left behind, but an ad from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads is particularly disingenuous. Taking aim at the Obama campaign’s slogan “Forward,” Crossroads cherry-picks several statistics to claim the country has moved “backward” under the president. However, the economic picture they paint only reflects the magnitude of the recession that started in late 2007, almost a year before Obama was elected. In addition to whitewashing the dismal Bush record, Crossroads conveniently ignores significant evidence of progress, such as the 4.5 million private-sector jobs added over 29 consecutive months of growth.Read more after the jump.