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Bill Cassidy Would End Guarantee of Medicare, Replace with Voucher Program for Louisiana Seniors

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Cassidy Claims Vouchers “Help Keep Costs Down,” Will Actually Hike Premiums by 50 Percent on Average

BATON ROUGE — Congressman Bill Cassidy’s vote for the Ryan budget plan to end the guarantee of Medicare isn’t going away for Louisiana seniors, who would be forced to pay more under the Republican proposal that replaces traditional Medicare with a voucher program.

“Bill Cassidy’s agenda for Louisiana seniors is to take away the guaranteed benefits they’ve worked a lifetime for,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Louisiana seniors can’t trust Cassidy to fight for them, when he’s voted for one budget after another that erodes the promise of Medicare.”

At a town hall meeting in 2012, Cassidy claimed that ending Medicare’s traditional benefits and moving to a voucher system would “help keep costs down.”

However, the Ryan budget plan would mean seniors would have to pay an average of 50 percent more in premiums to retain the current benefits offered by Medicare. Younger and healthier seniors would likely opt into private plans, leaving older and sicker seniors to stay in traditional Medicare and driving costs even higher.

“Cassidy voted to end the guarantee of Medicare and replace it with a voucher program that will make seniors pay more and ultimately undermine the very foundation of Medicare,” said Handwerk.

Visit www.Cassidycare.com to learn more about Cassidy’s record on Medicare and Social Security.

Background

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

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]

Cassidy Believed Switching Medicare To A Voucher System Would Introduce Competition To Help Keep Costs Down. The Gonzales Weekly Citizen wrote about a Cassidy town hall: “Cassidy argued that switching to a voucher system would bring competition among health care providers and help keep costs down. He said Ryan’s plan with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., gives seniors a choice of options.” [Gonzales Weekly Citizen, 8/23/12]

654,375 Louisiana Seniors Would Be Forced Out Of Traditional Medicare And Into A Voucher Program. Under the Republican plan to replace Medicare’s guaranteed benefits, all Louisiana seniors will receive a voucher instead of guaranteed benefits under traditional Medicare beginning in 2024. The 654,000 Louisianians aged 45-54 at the time of the most recent Census would see their premiums for traditional Medicare increase by 50 percent on average and would have to pay $800 more for their care than under the current law to stay in the program. Seniors who want to keep traditional Medicare, with its guaranteed benefits and extensive physician networks, would also pay $1,200 more than healthier seniors recruited for private insurance companies’ plans. The Republican plan would drive away healthier beneficiaries from traditional Medicare, setting off a premium spiral that could cause Medicare — currently the lifeline for 718,037 Louisiana seniors — to “wither on the vine.” [House Republican Budget, 3/12/13; CBO, 9/18/13; Census, accessed on 4/1/14; KFF, accessed on 4/1/14]

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