Jacki Schechner is a Current TV correspondent and former national communications director for Health Care for America Now.
Just like death panels, this is a lie that will take on a life of its own if we don’t stop it now.
The Congressional Budget Office wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner. It basically said that if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, it will cost US citizens $716 billion over the next 10 years. Republicans are twisting this number to say the president stole $716 billion from Medicare. The great irony in this GOP strategy is that they’re the ones stealing from Medicare.
Obama’s plan saves the country $716 billion in Medicare over the next 10 years by:
- Cutting overpayments to Medicare Advantage, private insurers who said they could do Medicare better and have proven they only do it more expensively.
- Stopping waste, fraud and abuse, such as when now Florida Governor Rick Scott was CEO of Columbia/HCA and the hospital group made money by defrauding Medicare.
- Slowing growth of payments to hospitals, health insurers and other providers. All trade associations agree with this (because of getting 32 million new people in the pool). Insurers did not.
There are NO CUTS in benefits to seniors. In fact, all the money saved goes back into health care. Some goes to help seniors pay for prescription drugs and afford wellness visits, preventive care and cancer screenings.
Some goes to fund the Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies so the insurance companies complaining about Medicare Advantage cuts actually get the money back anyway through the exchanges.
Ryan’s plan – keep in mind that it is a fantasy aspirational document, not legislation – would somehow repeal all of the Affordable Care Act but keep the Medicare savings. If he had to write an actual bill, it wouldn’t work that way. But in his perfect world, he still strips $716 billion out of Medicare and uses that money elsewhere — defense spending, paying down the deficit, tax breaks for the rich. So what happens to all that health care?
- Seniors pay for their own health care with a voucher or coupon, ending up paying more than twice as much out of their own pockets.
- The eligibility age goes up from 65 to 67.
- The doughnut hole reopens, with seniors having to pay for their own medications.
Ryan thinks that choice and competition in the private market will drive down costs, but we know from the private insurance market now that this is just not true. People don’t shop for medical care the way they shop for bread or a car.
Also, any claims that Ryan’s plan wouldn’t affect people under 55 is a lie. He would repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would dial back everything implemented so far — like prescription drug savings, wellness visits without deductibles or copays, and cancer screenings.
See Jacki break down the Republican lie with Cenk on “The Young Turks”: