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Rejecting Health Care For 250k Louisianians Is All Part of Bill Cassidy’s Plan To Reward Billionaires, While Hurting Seniors and the Middle Class

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Bill Cassidy & Bobby Jindal Are In Lockstep, Scheming To Deny Access To Health Care For 250k Working Louisianians

Cassidy Arrogantly Insulted Many In the “Jindal Gap,” Calling Them “Illiterate

New Orleans, Louisiana – This morning the Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee will hear Senate Bill 96, which would put a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot, letting voters decide whether to expand access to health care for 250,000 working Louisianians. Bill Cassidy and Bobby Jindal are in lockstep when it comes to rejecting health care for hard-working Louisiana families.

And for Cassidy, sticking it to working Louisianians who are trying to get ahead is all part of his plan to reward millionaires and billionaires at the expense of middle-class families and seniors.

  • Bill Cassidy wants to keep rejecting health care for 250,000 working Louisianians and deny those families the opportunity to get ahead and save for their futures. Cassidy has arrogantly insulted uninsured Louisianians as simply “illiterate,” even though it’s his agenda that has denied them access to health care, and likened Medicaid expansion to “heroin addiction” for states.
  • He wants to raise the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare to 70, forcing hundreds of thousands of Louisianians to work for even longer before they can retire.
  • He wants to reopen the Medicare Part D donut hole for more than 65,000 seniors in Louisiana, and force seniors to pay thousands of dollars more for prescription drugs.
  • He even wants to end Medicare as we know it, by turning Medicare into a voucher program that increases out-of-pocket costs for seniors by thousands of dollars.
  • And Cassidy wants to raise taxes on middle-class families by thousands of dollars, for families with children… all in order to enact massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.

“Bill Cassidy wants to raise the retirement age to 70, make Medicare a voucher program and force seniors to pay more, while billionaires pay less, and his arrogant opposition to health care for 250,000 working Louisianians is all part of his agenda to take care of billionaires at the expense of the middle class and seniors,” said Campaign for Louisiana Communications Director Andrew Zucker. “Bill Cassidy’s arrogant opposition to health care for 250,000 working Louisianians sends a clear message to seniors, the middle class, and all who aspire to build a future in Louisiana: put him in the Senate, and you’ll be on your own.”

BACKGROUND

According To The Kaiser Foundation, Over 240,000 Louisianans, Or 87% Of Uninsured Of Non-Elderly Louisiana Adults In Poverty Will Not Have Access To Subsidized Health Coverage Without Medicaid Expansion. “Eighty-seven percent of all non-elderly Louisiana adults living in poverty will not have access to government subsidized health insurance in 2014 despite a new national health-care law that was designed to extend coverage to more people. That’s according to Kaiser Family Foundation, which Wednesday (Oct. 16) released a new state-by-state analysis of health-care coverage in the 26 states that have so far declined to expand Medicaid to their poorest residents. Nearly 5.2 million poor, uninsured Americans — 242,150 of them in Louisiana — will not have access to insurance provided for under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law in 2010.” [Times-Picayune, 10/16/13]

  • 63% Of Louisianians Polled Supported Medicaid Expansion. [Families USA, April 2013]

Cassidy Described The Uninsured As “Relatively Less Sophisticated, Less Comfortable With Forms, Less Educated.” [Buzzfeed, 3/26/14]

  • Cassidy Described The Uninsured As “They’re Illiterate. I’m Not Saying That To Be Mean. I Say That In Compassion. They Cannot Read.” [Buzzfeed, 3/26/14]

Cassidy: Medicaid Is “Like A Heroin Addiction” For States. In December 2012, The Advocate reported on a lecture Cassidy gave at George Washington University: “‘Medicaid is like a heroin addiction’ for states, Cassidy said.” [The Advocate, 12/9/12]

  • Cassidy Called Medicaid “Welfare Medicine.” “Now, opponents of repeal argue that this gives Americans insurance, but what in truth it often gives is Medicaid. Now, Medicaid is a Federal-State program, which is often called ‘welfare medicine,’ and it is a program which is destroying State budgets.” [Library of Congress, Congressional Record, 1/19/11]

Cassidy Called Medicaid Expansion “A Lousy Idea” And “A Lie To The American People,” Citing A Cancer Patient Who Lost Her Doctor Because Of Low Medicaid Reimbursement Rates. In July 2013, Politico reported: “It can be easy to forget that health care policy involves real people with real illnesses. Rep. Bill Cassidy delivered a reminder Thursday, describing his follow-up call with an ovarian cancer patient profiled by the New York Times in 2010. The woman lost her doctor when he stopped taking Medicaid patients due to low reimbursement rates. ‘She died,’ Cassidy exclaimed, kicking the underside of a table in the Speaker’s Lobby, where he was seated. He says the story shows why expanding Medicaid under the health care law is a lousy idea. ‘And this is the program we’re expanding?…Those folks who think they put in wise public policy…are pretending they’re providing that woman with cancer in Michigan access to health care is a lie to the American people.’” [Politico, 7/12/13]

  • The American Cancer Society Criticized Cassidy, Calling On Him To Address The Issue of Low Rates Rather Than Condemning The “Only Coverage Option Available To So Many Americans.” July 2013, Politico reported: “The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network wrote to Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) about comments that appeared in Friday PULSE. Cassidy, speaking out against the Medicaid expansion, told the story of a cancer patient who died after losing her doctor because he stopped taking Medicaid patients due to the program’s low reimbursement rates. The issue of low rates, ASC CAN writes, ‘is a problem Congress should address, rather than simply condemning as inadequate the only coverage option available to so many Americans with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.’” [Politico, 7/15/13]

Cassidy Labeled Medicaid Expansion A “Prisoner’s Bargain.” In February 2013, The Daily Comet reported: “Under the law, Medicaid will be expanded to include all residents with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line or an income of $30,675 for a family of four in 2012. The expansion is federally funded for the first three years, but after that it would be up to states to support expanded Medicaid. While this seems like a good deal, Cassidy said it is a ‘prisoner’s bargain’ for Louisiana.” [Daily Comet, 2/21/13]

2014: Bill Cassidy Voted For The FY 2015 Ryan Budget. [H. Con. Res. 96, Vote #177, 4/10/14]

  • 2013: Bill Cassidy Voted For The FY 2014 Ryan Budget.  [H. Con. Res. 25, Vote #88, 3/21/13]
  • 2012: Bill Cassidy Voted For The FY 2013 Ryan Budget. [H. Con. Res. 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12]
  • 2011: Bill Cassidy Voted For The FY 2012 Ryan Budget. [H. Con. Res. 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11]

2014: Bill Cassidy Voted For The FY 2015 Republican Study Committee. [H. Con. Res. 96, Vote #175, 4/10/14]

  • 2013: Cassidy Voted For The FY 2014 RSC Budget.  [H.Con.Res.25, Vote #86, 3/20/13]
  • 2012: Cassidy Voted For The FY 2013 RSC Budget. [H.Con.Res.112, Vote #149, 3/29/12]
  • 2011: Cassidy Voted For The FY 2012 RSC Budget. [H.Con.Res.34, Vote #275, 4/15/11]

The FY 2015 Ryan Budget Raises Taxes On The Middle Class By $2,000, Giving Millionaires A Tax Cut Of Over $87,000 Each.  The Ryan budget proposes to lower tax rates for high-income earners from 39.6% to 25%, which would require the middle-class to pay more in taxes in order for the budget to balance as proposed.  A Tax Policy Center analysis of a similar proposal found that the tax reductions for high-income earners would cost $5.7 trillion, making it mathematically impossible “to enact Rep. Ryan’s tax policies in a deficit-neutral tax reform without including big tax increases for low- and middle-income taxpayers.”  Taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million would receive an average net tax decrease of over $87,000, according to a White House analysis.  In order to pay for these tax breaks, the Ryan budget would  raise taxes on middle class families with children by an average of at least $2,000.  [House Republican Budget Chairman’s Mark, 4/1/14; New York Times Editorial, 4/01/14; TPC, 3/15/13; TPC, 8/1/12; CTJ, 4/2/14; WH, 4/1/14; WH, 4/8/14]

  • The Ryan Plan “Would End Traditional Medicare By Capping Spending And Offer Vouchers To Buy Private Insurance.” “The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that Obama pushed for doesn’t cut Medicare; it simply reduces projected future increases in costs by $700 billion over 10 years. […] Those same reductions in the future growth of Medicare are contained in the budget bills sponsored by Ryan and approved by the same House Republicans who now say they’ll campaign against the provision. Romney has endorsed the Ryan plan. The difference is the savings in the Republican bill don’t go to help seniors with their prescription drug costs. In fact, Ryan’s legislation increases the amount senior citizens will have to pay for drugs since it repeals the health-care legislation that provides the extra subsidy. Ryan’s budget bill also would end traditional Medicare by capping spending and offer vouchers to buy private insurance.” [Bloomberg, 8/13/12]
  • The Ryan Plan “Would Essentially End Medicare.” “Republicans will present this week a 2012 budget proposal that would cut more than $4 trillion from federal spending projected over the next decade and transform the Medicare health program for the elderly, a move that will dramatically reshape the budget debate in Washington. The budget has been prepared by Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, and it represents the most complete attempt so far by Republicans to make good on their promises during the 2010 midterm elections to cut government spending and deficits. Though Rep. Ryan based the Medicare portion of his budget on a previous plan created in collaboration with a Democrat, Alice Rivlin, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and long-time budget expert, the current plan isn’t likely to get much Democratic support. Instead, it will set up a broad debate over spending and the role of government heading into the 2012 general election. The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]

The FY 2015 Ryan Budget Reopens The Medicare Part D Donut Hole For 65,043 Louisiana Seniors. [White House, 4/9/14]

  • AARP: Health Care Reform “Protects And Strengthens Guaranteed Benefits In Medicare,” And “Closes The Dreaded Medicare Part D ‘Doughnut Hole,’ A Gap In Prescription Drug Coverage That Is Life-Threatening For Many.” [AARP, Press Release, 3/10/12]

The FY 2015 Ryan Budget Will Force Seniors To Pay More To Remain In Medicare.  Under the Ryan budget proposal, more than 45 million seniors could be forced to choose between traditional Medicare and a voucher program starting in 2024.  According to a previous Congressional Budget Office report, the proposal would force seniors who want to remain in traditional Medicare to pay $800 more per year than they would have under current law, raising premiums by 50 percent.  Furthermore, seniors electing to stay in traditional Medicare and avoid buying private insurance will pay $1,200 more than seniors in private plans.  Private plans would be permitted to tailor benefit packages to attract healthier beneficiaries and leave the sicker, more expensive patients for Medicare. Over time, Medicare would become less financially viable and would have to raise premiums, driving away more healthy beneficiaries and setting off a premium spiral that could unravel the program. [House Republican Budget Chairman’s Mark, 4/1/14; CBO,  9/13/14; Census, 2010; CAP, 4/1/14; DPCC, 3/13/13; CBPP, 3/15/13]

  • 2011: Louisiana Would Be Forced To Pay $6,800 More Per Year. According to a report by the Joint Economic Committee, the average Louisiana senior would be forced to pay $6,830.40 more in out of pocket expenses under the Ryan budget plan. [Joint Economic Committee, 5/20/11]
  • Potentially 654,375 Louisiana Seniors Would Be Forced Out Of Traditional Medicare And Into A Voucher  Program. Under the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it, all Louisiana seniors will receive  a voucher instead of guaranteed benefits under traditional Medicare beginning in 2024. For the 654,375 Louisianans aged 45-54 at the time of the most recent Census, the value of their vouchers would be capped at growth levels that are lower than the projected increases in health care costs, forcing them to spend more out of pocket and diminishing their access to quality care. Private insurance plans will aggressively pursue the healthiest, least expensive enrollees, thereby allowing Medicare – currently the lifeline for 718,037 Louisiana seniors – to “wither on the vine.” [House Republican Budget, 3/12/13; CAP, 3/20/12; Census, accessed on 3/10/13; KFF, accessed on 3/10/13]

The FY 2015 RSC Budget Raised The Retirement Age For Social Security To 70. “This budget would slowly phase in an increase in the Social Security full-retirement age. The full retirement age would continue the current-law’s gradual increase of two months per year beginning in 2022 until the full retirement age reaches 70.” [The FY 2015 RSC Budget, accessed 4/9/14]

  • The FY 2014 RSC Budget Increased The Medicare Retirement Age To 70. “To address the increased demands on Medicare, this budget proposes raising the age of Medicare eligibility, beginning in 2024, by two months every year beginning with those born in 1959 until the eligibility age reaches 70, bringing Medicare eligibility in parity with Social Security.” [Republican Study Committee FY 2014 Budget, accessed 5/10/13]

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