GOP Seeks to Reform Medicare

Dean Heller
Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller
Joe Heck
Nevada Republican Representative Joe Heck

That Republican Representative Paul Ryan’s budget plan will change Medicare “as we know it,” seems to be widely accepted. Democrats oppose the Ryan Plan across the board. Many in Mr. Ryan’s own party reject the Ryan Plan. The plan would transform Medicare into a voucher-style system dubbed “premium support.” You’d get federal dollars to supplement the purchase of health insurance in a regulated private market.

Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts has stated he will not vote for the plan. Brown states it would force seniors to pick up too much of the burden for rising healthcare costs. He fears that as health inflation rises, the cost of private plans will outgrow the government premium support forcing the elderly to pay ever higher deductibles and co-pays. Brown also noted that “Medicare has already taken significant cuts to help pay for Obama’s health care plan.” President Obama and Congress cut a half trillion dollars to the private side of Medicare leaving seniors at risk of losing their Medicare Advantage coverage.

Brown states, “We should start by making improvements to the traditional Medicare plan.” The Government Accountability Office estimates nearly 10 percent ($47 billion) of annual Medicare spends is nothing but waste, fraud or abuse. Attorney General Eric Holder puts the figure at $60 billion. Medicare administrators need to prevent those improper payments instead of paying then chasing to recover the improper payments proposes Brown.

Brown also thinks savings could be increased by increasing congressional oversight of how Medicare reimburses providers and improve the quality of Medicare to seniors. He also suggests tort reform to limit frivolous lawsuits.

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine has said she will vote against the Ryan Plan, which seeks to cut $5.8 trillion in federal spending over 10 years.

The Ryan budget proposal passed the House on April 15 235-193. The public is divided on the issue. A USA Today/Gallup Poll last month found 44 percent supporting Obama’s budget compared to 43 percent backing Ryan’s. Still, 66 percent said they were worried the Republican plan would cut Medicare too much, while 71 percent said they were afraid Democrats wouldn’t go far enough in addressing the deficit.

Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller voted for the Ryan Plan when he was in the House and said he’d vote for it again as Senator. Republican Joe Heck voted for the Ryan Plan in the House.

Both Heller and Heck were chastised by the Nevada Democratic Party for misleading Nevada seniors by claiming the Ryan Plan would not affect seniors over age 55 issuing the following statement:

“The GOP budget plan would reopen the donut hole and result in over 26,000 Nevada seniors paying $15 million more alone in prescription drug costs next year. This clearly affects Nevadans over the age of 55 and Heller and Heck are wrong to mislead them. Their reckless pandering to the TEA Party would nearly double prescription drug costs for seniors and end Medicare as we know it, all so they can cut taxes for millionaires.”

Republican Newt Gingrich, criticized the plan as "radical" and "right-wing social engineering” but has backed away from his criticism receiving a skewering by conservatives.

The GOP is squirming between a rock and a hard place. Having described the Medicare Reform as socialist Obamacare they are discovering that their voter base isn’t all that enthusiastic about repealing Obama’s Medicare Reform, whether socialized or not. They are also discovering that extreme positions can be dangerous to their political health.

In any event even though the House has passed the Ryan Plan the GOP will have a difficult time in getting the Plan approved in the Senate. And even if they do President Obama will veto it. That leaves the GOP with the problem of getting a 2/3rd’s vote to override his veto. Not likely.

Related posts:

  1. GOP attack on Medicare/Medicaid
  2. Maddow on Dean Heller
  3. Reform Reality Check: You Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform
  4. Joe Heck wants to dissolve Medicare
  5. President Obama seeks our help

About Featheriver

Born and raised in Oklahoma. Improved in California. Out to pasture in Nevada. Born in 1933, Korean War Vet in USAF. Occupation: Criminal Law and Torts. Retired California Lawyer. Now live in Pahrump, Nye County, Nevada.
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