Can Your Retirement Plan Afford the Gardner/Ryan Plan for Medicare?
Late last week, the Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee released analyses of the Ryan Plan and its impact on Medicare and Medicaid in each Congressional District. The numbers are based on enrollment figures from Medicare, CBO estimates, and reports by the nonpartisan Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Current Medicare enrollees will lose benefits and they will pay more for prescription drugs. Those under 55, however, really get the raw end of the deal. If you are aged 44 to 54, you better hope your retirement account can handle an additional $200,000 in out of pocket expenses to cover medical expenses. The Ryan Plan's method for "saving money" is making you pay a lot more in the long run.
Gardner's plan will:
- Increase prescription drug costs for 6,400 Medicare beneficiaries in the 4th District who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay an extra $63 million for drugs over the next decade.
- Eliminate new preventive care benefits for 88,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the 4th District.
- Increase the out-of-pocket costs of health coverage by over $6,000 per year in 2022 and by almost $12,000 per year in 2032 for the 112,000 individuals in the 4th District who are between the ages of 44 and 54.
- Require the 112,000 individuals in the 4th District between the ages of 44 and 54 to save an additional $26.2 billion for their retirement – an average of $182,000 to $287,000 per individual – to pay for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes.
- Deny 570,000 individuals age 54 and younger in the 4th District access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits.
- Raise the Medicare eligibility age by at least one year to age 66 or more for 62,000 individuals in the 4th District who are age 44 to 49 and by two years to age 67 for 454,000 individuals in the 4th District who are age 43 or younger.
Can't afford these new costs? The GOP answer: too bad, go without any health care.
Of course, this isn't the message Gardner wants you to hear. He thinks this is an unfair characterization of his plan. He wrote a letter to the seniors in the District, explaining:
Unfortunately, some people are using scare tactics. They are saying that retirement benefits are in jeopardy under some of the solutions that I support. The claims have been so outlandish that they even claim the House budget abolishes Medicare. This could not be further from the truth.
Under this plan, if you are 55 and older, Medicare and Social Security benefits will not change for you - ever.
Well, that's part of the truth. The majority of the new costs shifting to America's seniors won't happen until those now under 55 try to get the Medicare benefits they've been expecting since they began working. But by repealing the Affordable Care Act, Gardner supports the elimination of preventive care benefits seniors now receive. He also opposes the closing of the Medicare Part D donut hole and the provision of drug discounts for seniors falling into that coverage gap, which under the Affordable Care Act began this year.
Benefits Medicare recipients are now receiving will be eliminated under Gardner's plan.
Those under 55 are really in trouble. We had all better start planning to spend about an extra quarter of a million dollars, each, to cover medical expenses that will not be covered by Medicare. I don't know if my retirement plan can afford the Gardner/Ryan Plan.
The GOP's plan for Medicare does nothing to reduce health expenditures in this country, it merely shifts the burden from the federal government to seniors. How many seniors will forgo insurance because of the new costs? How many will go bankrupt to cover expenses? The GOP doesn't seem to care about that.
Through this plan, we all end up paying more in the end so that tax subsidies can continue to go to Gardner's biggest campaign donors, now. The GOP plan is robbing us of our future to make rich campaign donors wealth today.
Will Gardner face up to this? No. He's opted to avoid constituents that will be affected by these Medicare cuts until September. Maybe he hopes we will forget that he voted to sell our futures own the river. I won't. Will you?