Today, on the 45th anniversary of the implementation of Medicare, it's under attack by politicians who want to gut it to pay for more tax breaks for millionaires and big corporations. In addition to privatizing Medicare, the House scheme also makes deep cuts to Medicaid, which millions of seniors, kids and people with disabilities rely on for their care.
Medicare and Medicaid allow Americans to retire with dignity by ensuring they have good health care and access to a nursing home late in life. Paul Ryan's plan would double seniors' out-of-pocket medical costs by turning Medicare into vouchers, and force many seniors out of their nursing homes by slashing Medicaid. These politicians won't say how retired Americans are supposed to manage with no place to live and no way to pay for rising health care costs — they just keep pushing the same failed plan to give more tax breaks to millionaires and big corporations.
Americans want their leaders to preserve Medicare and Medicaid for their own retirement and for future generations — not give handouts to millionaires and oil companies while the rest of us struggle to get by.
Here are some facts about Medicare and Medicaid:
- More than 80% of seniors say Medicare is central to their retirement security.
- Nearly 60% of Americans oppose the Republican Medicare plan, nearly 90% of Americans want to increase or keep Medicare funding the same, and 75% want to preserve or increase funding for Medicaid.
- In a decade, Paul Ryan's plan to slash Medicaid could cost as much as $150 billion and put over 1.5 million jobs at risk (to see what this means for your state, click here).
- Medicaid covers nearly half of all long-term care expenses, like nursing homes, which cost an average of $75,000 a year – without it, more than 16 million elderly and disabled people would not get the care they need.
- More than three-quarters of Medicaid benefits go to seniors in nursing homes and poor children.
- Many politicians, including budget author Paul Ryan, have professed devotion to cult philosopher Ayn Rand who advocated greed and condemned God and faith – and their plan to destroy Medicare and look out for the rich over the rest of us is right in line with Rand's philosophy.
- Senate Republicans have collected more than $20 million in campaign contributions from the insurance industry – which would benefit enormously if seniors had to shop for insurance on the open market.
- Last year, the biggest insurance companies raked in almost $12 billion in profits while charging Americans more for their health insurance and providing less coverage.
- The Republican plan would:
- End Medicare as we know it by creating a voucher system that will double health care costs for seniors;
- Gut Medicaid – shifting costs to states that are already in financial trouble and eliminating coverage for many Americans, including seniors who live in nursing homes, children and people with disabilities;
- Take health insurance away from 32 million Americans;
- Immediately drive up the cost of prescription drugs and annual checkups for America's seniors, and double their out-of-pocket health care costs in the future.
- Give over $4 trillion in new tax breaks for millionaires and corporate special interests and protect $40 billion in giveaways to Big Oil — even though corporate profits are at an all-time high and corporations are paying lower taxes than ever before.