The Difference: ACA Extends the Solvency of Medicare While Cassidy Would Use It To Finance Tax Breaks For Billionaires
Days After Admitting He Voted For Same Medicare Savings, Cassidy AGAIN Raised Money From Phony Medicare Attack
New Orleans, Louisiana – For weeks Bill Cassidy and his national GOP handlers have laughably attacked Democrats for supporting the exact same Medicare “cuts” savings under ACA that were included in Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget. As multiple reporters noted when they first launched the attack, it’s the textbook definition of hypocrisy, and now even Cassidy himself admits that he voted for the same Medicare cost savings, making his own line of attack a complete farce.
During a town meeting last week in Gonzales, Cassidy said:
“Among the things that the president’s healthcare law does is it cuts Medicare Advantage. Now it would be one thing if the savings they were taking from Medicare Advantage were put back into the trust fund because as we mentioned, the trust fund is running out of money. But if they, so if they are taking the savings of that and putting it back in the trust fund, I’m ok. Actually I voted to do that at one point because then you paid into the Medicare trust fund.”
Cassidy is referring to his support for Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget. The Ryan budget that Cassidy voted for, which would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program, contained the same Medicare savings that were included in the ACA. The only difference: the ACA uses the savings to extend the solvency of Medicare for nine years, while Cassidy would have used the savings to finance massive tax breaks for billionaires.
To put it another way: two weeks ago Bill Cassidy was fundraising from this phony line of attack, then he admitted he supported those same savings, and yet he is continuing to fundraise from it anyway.
“For months Bill Cassidy and his national GOP handlers have hypocritically attacked Democrats for supporting the same Medicare savings that they voted for repeatedly, and now even Cassidy himself admits that his latest line of attack is a complete farce,” said Campaign for Louisiana Communications Director Andrew Zucker. “While Democrats strengthened the solvency of Medicare, Bill Cassidy voted to use those savings to finance massive tax breaks for billionaires. There’s only one candidate in Louisiana who wants to slash health care benefits for seniors and that’s Bill Cassidy, who voted to raise the retirement age to 70, end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program and force 600,000 Louisiana seniors to pay thousands more for their health care each year.”
Medicare’s Trustees Credited The Affordable Care Act For Extending The Medicare Trust Fund Until 2026. “Falling health-care costs are brightening the financial outlook for Medicare, extending the life of the trust fund that supports the program until 2026 — two years later than previously forecast. The new projections, released Friday by the program’s trustees, credit President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in part for the improvement in the finances of the federal health insurance program for the elderly. The act’s limits on Medicare Advantage, a more expensive form of Medicare run by private insurers, are proving more effective than previously forecast, the report said. The trustees also cited lower-than-expected spending in ‘most . . . service categories — especially skilled nursing facilities,’ a development that is not well understood. Costs have been slowing throughout the health-care industry, partly because of the recent recession, economists say, but also because of what appear to be more fundamental changes aimed at reducing waste and improving health outcomes.” [Washington Post, 5/31/13]
Congressman Ryan’s 2013 Budget Preserved the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare Savings. According to the New York Times , “House Republicans will preserve Medicare cuts that their presidential nominee loudly denounced last year and accept tax increases they sternly opposed just months ago in a new tax-and-spending blueprint that would bring the federal budget into balance by 2023, senior Republicans said Wednesday.New York Times , 3/06/13]
- Ryan’s 2011 And 2012 Budgets Both Included The Medicare Savings From ACA. “Ryan’s budget proposal also includes complete repeal of the ACA, with one little-noticed exception, the $500 billion in ACA Medicare reductions. Oh. Nearly every House and Senate Republican votes for the Ryan proposal. In the spring of 2012, Ryan again releases the plan, and includes the same repeal of the ACA, minus the Medicare reductions, now approaching $700B. And, again, nearly every House Republican votes for the plan.” [The Boston Globe, Health Stew blog, 8/12/12]
- Congressman Ryan Confirmed This Year’s Budget Will Contain the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare Savings. “In an interview on Morning Joe today, Paul Ryan, projecting his usual seriousness and existential deficit angst, lamented that President Obama’s new budget moves so far to the left that he fears compromise will be impossible. And yet, in the same interview, Ryan also drew a line against conceding any new revenues in the form of closing loopholes enjoyed by the wealthy, and even better, confirmed that his forthcoming budget will contain the Medicare Advantage cuts that Republicans have been attacking Democrats over for three years. [Washington Post , 3/05/14]
- Forbes: “The [Ryan Budget] Keeps, But Repurposes, Obamacare’s Medicare Cuts And Tax Increases, While Repealing The Law’s Spending On The Uninsured.” [Forbes, 3/16/13]
- Sam Stein: “@Billcassidy Didn’t You Vote Yes On The Ryan Budget, Which Has The Same Cuts To Medicare Advantage?” [Sam Stein, Twitter, 12/14/13]
- Tax Policy Center: GOP Budget Increases After-Tax Income for Millionaires by 20 Percent. As reported by the Washington Post, “The tax plan embedded in the House Republican budget would cut taxes by $5.7 trillion over the next decade, with the benefits flowing disproportionately to very wealthy households, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Taxpayers earning more than $1 million a year would benefit the most from the GOP tax plan, the analysis shows, reaping an average $400,000 tax break that would send their after-tax income soaring by nearly 20 percent.” [Washington Post, 3/15/13]
The Cleveland Plain Dealer Politifact Rated As “False” The NRSC’s Claim That ACA Cut Medicare To Fund “Government Run Health Care.” “‘Despite Sherrod Brown’s transparent political strategy to mislead Ohio seniors and demagogue Medicare, this serves as another reminder he is the only candidate in Ohio who has voted to cut Medicare by over $500 billion in order to fund government-run health care,’ said NRSC spokesman Jahan Wilcox…. The NRSC’s claim cites a real figure — $500 billion — that is part of the health reform debate. But it incorrectly describes it as $500 billion in Medicare cuts, rather than as decreases in the rate of growth of future spending. And the NRSC piles on the incorrect talking point about ‘government-run health care.’ On the Truth-Meter, the NRSC’s claim rates as False.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, Politifact, 6/23/11]
Bill Cassidy Voted For The FY 2014 Republican Study Committee “Back To Basics” Budget Plan. [H.Con.Res.25, Vote #86, 3/20/13]
- The Republican Study Committee Budget Would Increase The Social Security Retirement Age To 70. “This budget would slowly phase in an increase in the Social Security full-retirement age for individuals born in 1962 (currently 51) and after to an eventual full retirement age of 70.” [Republican Study Committee FY 2014 Budget, accessed 5/10/13]
- The Republican Study Committee Budget Would Increase 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]
Cassidy Voted For The Republican Budget Blueprint For FY 2012 That Ends Medicare As We Know It. In April 2011, Cassidy voted for the House Republican budget blueprint drafted by Paul Ryan that effectively ends Medicare. It calls for converting Medicare for persons currently younger than 55 into a “premium support system” through which the government would pay private insurance companies directly for each enrollee. The resolution was adopted 235-193. [H Con Res 34, Vote 277, 4/15/11]
- 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]
- 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 2011 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]