Capps Highlights New Report Demonstrating How Ryan Budget and Medicare Voucher Plan Will Increase Costs for Central Coast Seniors

Oct 16, 2012 Issues: Healthcare

Santa Barbara, CA – Today, Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, highlighted a new report that demonstrates how Central Coast seniors will be forced to pay higher costs for health care under Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan's Budget proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher program.  The House approved the partisan plan earlier this year over Capps’ strong objections.  The report was written by the Democratic staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Congressman Ryan's budget ends the Medicare guarantee of quality, affordable health care by forcing seniors to buy a private insurance plan or buy back into traditional Medicare. A study released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation examined a similar proposal and found that nearly half of seniors in California would pay $1,200 a year in extra costs.

Today’s report is further evidence that the Ryan plan to voucherize Medicare would be devastating for Central Coast seniors, forcing them to pay more out of pocket for less health care. Many Central Coast seniors live on a fixed income and simply can’t afford thousands of dollars in additional health care costs. That's why I voted against the Ryan budget both times it was considered by the House of Representatives, and will continue to fight against enacting this misguided plan,” said Capps.

The Ryan budget also repeals the health insurance reform law, the Affordable Care Act, immediately eliminating new Medicare benefits and critical consumer protections. These benefits include access to preventive services without a co-pay or cost sharing requirement, and a 50 percent discount on name brand prescription drugs for seniors in the infamous "donut hole."

In addition, the Ryan budget would end the current reimbursement system for Medicaid in which the federal government matches every dollar invested in the program by California, and turn the program into a fixed block grant.  This shifts a growing portion of the cost of Medicaid onto California’s state and county budgets.

Last year, Capps met with Santa Barbara officials to discuss how the Ryan plan for Medicaid would shift a larger percentage of health care costs onto the county and make it more difficult for Santa Barbara County to balance its budget.

Specifically, the Ryan budget would result in the following impacts to seniors residing in the 23rd Congressional District:

  • Increase prescription drug costs for 6,600 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay an extra $61 million for drugs over the next decade.
  • Eliminate new preventive care benefits for 92,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district.
  • Force 92,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who are currently enrolled in traditional Medicare to pay thousands of dollars more in premiums to remain in traditional Medicare after Medicare becomes a voucher program.
  • Reduce coverage for 19,200 Medicare beneficiaries who rely on Medicaid to supplement their Medicare coverage, potentially denying them over $670 million in health benefits.
  • Jeopardize nursing home care for 900 district residents whose expenses are paid by Medicaid.
  • Raise food costs for 3,700 district households with seniors who rely on food stamps by as much as $1,100 per year or eliminate food assistance for many of these households entirely.
  • Threaten affordable housing programs that provide rental support for 2,500 district households with seniors.
  • Place 82,000 district seniors at increased risk of fraud, scams, and elder abuse by cutting as much as$6 billion in funding for federal consumer protection and law enforcement.