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Americans’ Health Care Access and Coverage at Risk with Proposed House Budget Resolution

Posted by Adair Parr, MD, JD April 5, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Today, Representative Paul Ryan (R–Wisconsin) and the Republicans announced the new House Budget resolution, which is in response to Obama’s previously announced budget plan.  The plan involves sweeping overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid, among other changes.  It will cut $1.43 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid.  In addition to the above, Representative Ryan’s plan would:

  • End the Medicaid and Medicare programs as we know them;
  • Cut over a trillion from Medicaid, a program that helps nearly 15 million seniors and people with disabilities get care in their homes or in nursing facilities;
  • Jeopardize health care for 25 million children who rely on Medicaid to get their health care;
  • Privatize Medicare, and allow the health insurance industry to call the shots for seniors’ health benefits;
  • Increase taxes on middle-class families by taking away tax credits that help millions of Americans buy health insurance; and
  • Keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has published data showing the difference in spending between Medicaid and private insurance for both children and adults.  Medicaid costs 27% less for children than private insurance and 20% less for adults.  The cuts proposed by Representative Ryan would threaten health care access for millions of Americans.  39 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare.  And nearly 6 million Seniors depend on Medicaid to fund things that Medicare does not cover, like long-term care.  Medicare and Medicaid provide health insurance coverage for millions of Americans to ensure that they can receive needed health care.  Increases in costs would be borne by Seniors, or, in the case of Medicaid, by the states and by Seniors (many of whom are on fixed incomes and cannot afford to pay such expenses).

Much of Ryan’s plan is designed to create large cuts to health care which many people rely on every day.  Representative Ryan also claims that the cuts to the PPACA will result in decreases in the deficits.  The cuts that Representative Ryan is proposing are arbitrary and favor the wealthy over low and middle income Americans and low income children, whose health insurance benefits would be removed under this budget.  Many Americans, including children, would not be able to afford the costs that they would bear under this plan and their health will be at risk.  Thirty-two million Americans would be without health insurance.  The House Budget resolution also favor insurance companies.  If you look at the lifetime campaign donations of Representative Ryan, insurance companies have given him $672, 203 in donations during his career.  Our country is currently struggling to rise out of one of the worst recessions that our country has ever experienced.  Much of this has been caused by favoring the rich and powerful.  This budget will create even more inequities in our current health care situation and, subsequently, threaten the economic recovery of Americans.

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