Protect Affordability and Access to Medicare

Target: U.S. House of Representatives

Goal: Protect seniors’ access to affordable health insurance coverage through Medicare

The future of Medicare is threatened by Representative Paul Ryan’s proposed budget. The budget would cap Medicare spending well below expected expense levels, allow private insurers to compete with the traditional Medicare plan, and raise the eligibility age of seniors. Under the proposed budget Medicare spending by the government would be capped at growth in the economy plus 0.5%. However, that is well below the expected increase in Medicare demand. As a result the cost difference would be passed on to Medicare beneficiaries resulting in higher premiums. An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office revealed that beneficiaries will pay $1,200 more by 2030 and $5,900 more by 2050 for Medicare coverage. Many seniors live on a fixed income and increasing their health care costs without increasing coverage reduces their ability to survive on their income.

Allowing private insurance companies to compete with Medicare would also increase health care costs for seniors. The proposed budget would allow private insurance companies to compete with the government’s traditional Medicare plan. Representative Paul Ryan argues that competition will reduce health care costs. However competition doesn’t change the cost of providing healthcare so it will have limited effect in reducing costs. Instead, allowing private insurers to compete with the government will likely result in healthy seniors leaving traditional Medicare due to lower premiums thus resulting in fewer total beneficiaries remaining in the government’s traditional Medicare plan. The result would be a much higher cost for health coverage as the government will have less leverage to work with providers to reduce health care costs due to a lower number of beneficiaries.

In addition to higher costs for health care, the proposed budget would reduce access to Medicare for many seniors. The budget would increase the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67. This change would result in 5.4 million seniors losing access to health insurance coverage in the first ten years after the change was implemented.

Medicare was created to provide health insurance for all people age 65 or older. Prior to Medicare many elderly individuals didn’t have access to health insurance coverage or couldn’t afford it. The proposed budget would undermine the ability seniors to have access to affordable health care coverage.

By signing the petition below you will help urge the U.S. House of Representatives to protect access to affordable health care coverage for seniors by opposing Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposal.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear U.S. House of Representatives,

The budget proposed by Representative Paul Ryan would reduce access and raise the cost of health care coverage for seniors. The budget contains a cap on Medicare spending that is well below projected spending levels. The cost difference would be passed onto Medicare beneficiaries. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost to beneficiaries under the proposal will be $5,900 more than they would pay under current law. The additional cost to seniors will unfairly strain their budgets as many live on a fixed income.

Another aspect of the budget which would allow private health insurance companies to compete in a health insurance exchange with the government’s Medicare plan would also result in increased costs for seniors. Medicare as it exists currently is able to keep health care costs low by negotiating lower costs with providers because so many individuals are enrolled in the program. Medicare would lose this ability to keep costs low if seniors enrolled in private insurance plans.

In addition to increasing costs to seniors, the plan would reduce access to Medicare. The budget increases the age of eligibility for Medicare recipients from 65 to 67. That would result in 5.4 million seniors losing access to health care coverage in the first ten years after the change went into effect.

Medicare as it currently exists is a successful program. In 2010 Medicare provided coverage for 40 million Americans. The projected growth in Medicare costs is expected to be 2.8% over the next ten years compared to 5.1% in total health care costs. Additionally the Affordable Care Act has a mechanism to reduce Medicare costs without raising premiums for seniors.

I urge to support access to affordable health insurance for seniors by voting against Representative Paul Ryan’s proposed budget.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Sign the Petition

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43 Signatures

  • Lea Faulks
  • Carri Welsh
  • Nikki Owen
  • Ana Maria Mainhardt Carpes
  • Darlene Roepke
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Ann Blank
  • tam O
  • Mary-Carol Gales
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