Saturday, July 30, 2011

Democrats’ Do-Nothing “Plan” Will Bankrupt, Cut Seniors’ Medicare

Video from Chairman Paul Ryan

KEY FACTS: Democrats’ Do-Nothing “Plan” Will Bankrupt, Cut Seniors’ Medicare Benefits
Posted by Katie Boyd on May 31, 2011
Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) not only dodged a question on whether or not Democrats have a plan to save Medicare (correct answer: they do not), but made the claim that ObamaCare “added eight years of solvency” to Medicare. However, according to the most recent Medicare trustees report, ObamaCare will bankrupt Medicare by 2024 and cause significant cuts in seniors’ benefits. Here are some key facts on the Democrats’ do-nothing “plan”:

DEMOCRATS’ PLAN: Use Medicare Cuts as a “Piggy Bank” to Fund New Entitlements:

“Medicare Is Being Used as a Piggy Bank by Democrats, With $575 Billion in Payment Cuts Used to Finance Two Massive New Entitlement Programs in ObamaCare.” “The outrageous distortions about the Ryan Medicare reform plan are coming from people who are accelerating the program’s path to insolvency. Medicare is being used as a piggy bank by Democrats, with $575 billion in payment cuts used to finance two massive new entitlement programs in Obamacare. And this April, the president proposed taking another $480 billion out of the program to lower the deficit.” (Grace-Marie Turner, “There’s No Choice but Change,” National Review’s “Critical Condition” Blog, 5/26/11)
Medicare’s Chief Actuary Warned That ObamaCare “Would Actually Exacerbate Medicare’s Troubles.” “President Obama’s budget offered nothing beyond Obamacare as a solution. Of course, the effects of Obamacare are already accounted for in the latest actuarial projections, since Obamacare is current law. Indeed, in an extraordinary letter affixed to the recent trustees’ report, Medicare’s chief actuary noted that Obamacare’s approach to the program—price controls determined by a board of experts and devoid of market-based reforms that could help health care providers improve their efficiency—would actually exacerbate Medicare’s troubles.” (Yuval Levin, “Beyond Mediscare,” The Weekly Standard, 5/30/11)
Under ObamaCare, “Medicare is Carrying $24.6 Trillion in Unfunded Liabilities.” “This reality is underscored in the just-released annual report of the Medicare trustees. Democrats sold ObamaCare as a way to slow the growth of costs, but the report shows that the program’s finances have deteriorated even since last year. Medicare is carrying $24.6 trillion in unfunded liabilities through 2085, and chief actuary Richard Foster says even that does ‘not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations.’” (Editorial, “Republicans and Mediscare,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/23/11)
DEMOCRATS’ PLAN: Medicare Goes Bankrupt Five Years Earlier Than Expected, If Not Sooner:

According to the Most Recent Medicare Trustees Report, Medicare Will Be Bankrupt by 2024 – Five Years Earlier Than Expected. “The annual checkup said that the Medicare hospital insurance fund will now be exhausted in 2024, five years earlier than last year’s estimate…The trustees for the trust funds said in their annual report that the worsening financial picture emphasized the need for Congress to make changes to avoid disruptive consequences in the future for millions of people who depend on health and pension benefits.” (Stephen Ohlemacher, “Trustees: Worsening Picture for Benefit Programs,” Associated Press, 5/13/11)
Even the 2024 Bankruptcy Projection May Be Too Optimistic. “The Medicare figures are suspect, because they rely on billions of dollars in savings projected under the health care law signed by President Obama last year. Those savings depend on many factors, such as cuts in payments to doctors that Congress habitually sidesteps, as well as improvements in doctors’ and hospitals’ productivity.” (Richard Wolf, “Medicare, Social Security Running Out of Money Faster,” USA Today, 5/13/11)
The Most Recent Medicare Trustees Report “Emphasized the Need for Congress to Make Changes” to Save Medicare. “The trustees for the funds said in their annual report that the worsening financial picture emphasized the need for Congress to make changes to avoid disruptive consequences in the future for millions of people who depend on health and pension benefits.” (“Bleaker Outlook for Social Security, Medicare,” The Associated Press, 5/13/11)
DEMOCRATS’ PLAN: Benefit Cuts for American Seniors:

Cuts In Seniors’ Benefits Will Begin By 2024. “If the trust funds run out, the programs no longer would be able to pay full benefits. … Medicare could pay 90% starting in 2024, dropping to 75% in 2045.” (Richard Wolf, “Medicare, Social Security Running Out of Money Faster,” USA Today, 5/13/11)
Doing Nothing & “Leaving Medicare Alone Means It Simply Won’t Be There for Future Seniors.” “According to the Congressional Budget Office and Medicare’s trustees, the program has a long-term unfunded liability of more than $30 trillion. It’s about a decade from insolvency. The trustees’ latest annual report, released on May 13, notes that the Medicare trust fund is projected to run out of money five years sooner than was projected last year. Its current trajectory would swallow up the federal budget. Taxes could not be raised high or fast enough to keep up with its growth without crushing the economy. ‘Medicare as we know it’ is not an option. Leaving Medicare alone means it simply won’t be there for future seniors.” (Yuval Levin, “Beyond Mediscare,” The Weekly Standard, 5/30/11)
On Fox News Sunday, Fortune’s Nina Easton said Medicare “is going bankrupt” and those who refuse to take action “are signing the death papers for Medicare.”

House Republicans have passed a budget that protects, preserves and strengthens Medicare for current and future retirees while spurring job growth, stopping Washington from spending money it doesn’t have, and paying down our debt over time. Click here to learn more about the Republican Path to Prosperity, and click here to learn more about the Democratic “plan” to do nothing, leaving Medicare bankrupt and seniors facing drastic benefit cuts.
The U.S. Senate has voted down a House-approved bill to raise the debt ceiling, leaving the ball in the court of Senate leadership to produce a deficit reduction bill, with just days left before the Aug. 2 deadline. The vote was 59–41.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid followed through on his promise to kill the bill, pushed through the House a day late by House Speaker John Boehner. The White House, which has thrown its weight behind a Reid proposal, had promised a veto had it miraculously passed the Senate.

The Senate also killed the Cut, Cap, Balance Act last Friday and has yet to vote on a formal proposal. Having passed two proposals and with little time to attempt another bill, the House now waits to act on a Senate bill.

“I stuck my neck out a mile to get an agreement with the president of the United States,” Boehner thundered from the floor after the vote. “It’s time for the administration and time for our colleagues across the aisle to put something on the table. Tell us where you are!”

Brad Dayspring, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, announced via Twitter that the House will vote on Reid’s plan Saturday to show that it is “not capable of passing.” First votes are expected to begin at 1:00 p.m.

Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell debated on the Senate floor over when the body should vote on the Reid plan, with McConnell saying that his Republican colleagues were ready to vote Friday night. Reid demurred, meaning that the House may vote on Reid’s Budget Control Act before the Senate, an irony McConnell readily pointed out.

“This is almost an out-of-body experience,” McConnell said. “I’m perplexed that my friend does not want to vote on his proposal tonight.”

At a press conference later in the evening, Reid accused McConnell of refusing to negotiate with Democrats and of allowing a filibuster, which could push the vote back until early Sunday morning.

“The door was open all day. Nobody knocked, nobody walked in,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, said at the press conference. “We will not solve this problem by standing there and folding our arms and saying ‘I am not talking to anybody.’”

Read more:

Washington (Jun 2)
On CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said “it’s easy to throw bombs and to be incendiary, not so easy to sit down and actually govern.” In the same interview, Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) herself decided to take the easy route and “throw bombs,” by falsely claiming that the GOP’s plan to save Medicare will “throw you to the wolves.” This week, fact checkers are holding Rep. Wasserman Shultz accountable for her false and “incendiary” comments:

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Gave Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s False Medicare Claims “Three Pinocchios”:

“Neither of Those Claims Are True.” “‘Wasserman Schultz did not say voucher, but her statement suggests that people would be handed a check (‘X number of dollars’) and then have to go out and find a plan that they can afford. She also said the plan would ‘allow insurance companies to deny you coverage and drop you for pre-existing conditions.’ Neither of those claims are true.” (Glenn Kessler, “Wasserman Schultz’s Bogus Claim that the GOP Medicare Plan Will ‘Throw You to the Wolves’,” The Washington Post’s “The Fact Checker,” 6/1/11)
Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s False Attacks Characterized as “Scaremongering Metaphors.” “But Wasserman Schultz is jumping to conclusions — not to mention scaremongering metaphors — to describe provisions in the GOP Medicare plan that just do not exist.” (Glenn Kessler, “Wasserman Schultz’s Bogus Claim that the GOP Medicare Plan Will ‘Throw You to the Wolves’,” The Washington Post’s “The Fact Checker,” 6/1/11)
FactCheck.Org Says Rep. Wasserman Schultz “Throws Truth to ‘Wolves’:

House GOP Plan “Specifically Says Insurance Companies ‘Must Agree to Offer Insurance to All Medicare Beneficiaries.’” “Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz falsely claimed that seniors with preexisting medical conditions would be denied Medicare coverage under the GOP's plan. The House GOP plan specifically says insurance companies ‘must agree to offer insurance to all Medicare beneficiaries.’” (Eugene Kiely, “DNC Chair Throws Truth to ‘Wolves’,”, 5/31/11)
Rep. Wasserman Shultz Is “Simply Wrong.” “She is simply wrong to say that the GOP plan would allow insurance companies to ‘throw you to the wolves and allow insurance companies to deny you coverage and drop you for preexisting conditions.’” (Eugene Kiely, “DNC Chair Throws Truth to ‘Wolves’,”, 5/31/11)
Rep. Wasserman Shultz “Repeated a False Democratic Talking Point.” “She also repeated a false Democratic talking point that future beneficiaries — those who are now younger than 55 — would be left on their own to buy insurance in the private market. The GOP plan, as we have written before, would provide subsidies for future beneficiaries to buy private insurance from a Medicare exchange set up by the government.” (Eugene Kiely, “DNC Chair Throws Truth to ‘Wolves’,”, 5/31/11)
PolitiFact Rated Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s Comments “False”:

“We Rate Her Statement False.” “Both the budget plan that passed the House and its predecessor, Ryan-Rivlin, specifically noted that coverage could not be prevented by a pre-existing condition. It may be easier to say you’ll bar ‘cherry picking’ patients than it is to put it into practice, but Ryan has made his intentions consistently clear. We rate her statement False.” (“Debbie Wasserman Schultz Says Ryan Medicare Plan Would Allow Insurers to Use Pre-Existing Conditions as Barrier to Coverage,”, 6/1/11)
Last week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a video “explaining the real danger our growing debt poses to Medicare, and advancing a plan of action to save this critical health-security program.” In the video, Chairman Ryan makes clear that Medicare faces two futures: The Democrats’ do-nothing plan that will bankrupt Medicare and cut benefits for seniors, or the GOP’s Path to Prosperity that will save, strengthen and preserve Medicare for current and future generations. Learn more and get the real facts about the GOP’s plan to save Medicare here:

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