Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How many more contracts will the 112th Congress Break?

How many more contracts will the 112th Congress Break or Attempt to Break with Americans before the People arise and straighten up the Country?

Why is the 112th Congress so Anti-American?–KAS

Broken Contract

For decades, Americans have counted on a basic promise: A secure retirement is the reward for a lifetime of labor. Yet last Friday, House Republicans voted almost unanimously to break one of America’s most sacred promises that the cost of health care will not bankrupt seniors and their families once they enter retirement. Less than one year after Republicans hurled misleading claims that the Affordable Care Act’s provisions to make Medicare more efficient would somehow deprive seniors of care, the House GOP passed a budget that will phase out Medicare and leave seniors entirely at the mercy of the large health insuran ce companies (ironically, while still keeping many of the Medicare cuts they once criticized). And just one year after Republicans peppered the airwaves with claims that Democrats were ramming major changes to the health system through Congress by spending just one year debating health reform, the GOP-controlled House took only two weeks to debate and pass their plan to eliminate Medicare. If the Republican budget ever becomes law, it will shred America’s contract with seniors who worked every day of their lives knowing that Medicare would be there for them in their retirement.

THE END OF MEDICARE, PERIOD: The GOP budget does not “reform” Medicare. It does not provide seniors with the same coverage Members of Congress receive. And it does not end Medicare “as we know it.” The GOP budget ends Medicare, period. The centerpiece of the House Republicans’ plan is a proposal that repeals traditional Medicare and replaces it with a health insurance voucher that loses its value over time. Because the value of the Republicans’ privatized Medicare replacement does not keep up with the cost of health care , their plan will gradually phase out Medicare as its increasingly worthless vouchers will eventually only cover a very tiny fraction of the cost of a health insurance plan. Worse, as President Obama told the nation last week, the GOP budget immediately fritters away much of the savings from eliminating Medicare with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans. The rich get richer, and America’s seniors are tossed out into the cold.

THE PATH TO MEDICARE REPEAL: Although the GOP budget phases out Medicare gradually over many years, it will deal a body blow to America’s seniors the minute it goes into effect. The GOP plan eliminates traditional Medicare and forces seniors into the private insurance market. But health insurers have substantially higher administrative costs than traditional Medicare, and they lack Medicare’s ability to negotiate lower rates from doctors and hospitals. As a result, seniors will pay more for less as soon as the GOP plan becomes a reality. According to the CBO, total health care expenditures for a typical 65-year-old “would be almost 40 percen t higher with private coverage under the GOP plan than they would be with a continuation of traditional Medicare” in the very first year that the GOP plan goes into effect. As a clear sign that the GOP understands that seniors will not stand for losing their access to traditional Medicare, Republicans claim that Americans over age 55 will not lose their access to the nation’s most successful health care program, but this claim is also misleading. The GOP’s plan will shunt younger, healthier seniors into privatized plans, leaving traditional Medicare with an ever diminishing pool of the very oldest beneficiaries, and stealing away Medicare’s power to drive a hard bargain with health providers. Moreover, it’s not even clear that many health insurance c ompanies will even be willing to offer private plans to seniors, who represent the “oldest, sickest, and least profitable demographic.”

THE GOP’S WAR ON HEALTH CARE: Lest there be any doubt, the GOP plan to end Medicare is just one part of a full-scale assault on America’s health care safety net. The GOP budget does not simply kill Medicare, it guts Medicaid, forcing states to either cap enrollment, cut eligibility, slash benefits, lower payments to doctors or somehow dig up additional funds to pay for their newly starved health care system. This assault on Medicaid deals another body blow to seniors, as Medicaid pays for nearly half of all long term care costs in the United States. Nor is the GOP’s war on the health care safety net anything new. The GOP lined up in near-unanimous opposition to the landmark Affordable Care Act, and they just as resoundingly embraced the utterly meritless notion that health reform violates the Constitution. Many GOP lawmakers go even further, claiming that Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and any other federal health care programs are unconstitutional. And the GOP’s last campaign for the White House was built upon a plan to gut state laws protecting health insurance consumers and leave them to the mercy of the insurance industry. In other words, it’s clear that the Republican Party has wanted to dismantle the nation’s health care contract with all Americans for many years — they just finally got the votes to pass this radical agenda through the House.



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