Earlier this week, Speaker John Boehner said Rep. Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare “transforms Medicare into a plan that's very similar to the President's own health care bill.” This comparison is deeply flawed. Here’s why:
No Guaranteed Coverage
The Congressional Republican plan privatizes Medicare, ending the program as we know it. Insurance companies would be under no obligation to offer insurance to seniors, so many older Americans could be left with no insurance at all.
The Affordable Care Act preserves Medicare and improves it by making prevention and prescription drugs more affordable, lowering its costs, and improving the quality of care. And health reform extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund and helps ensure Medicare will continue to provide coverage to seniors in the decades to come.
Get Older, Pay More
The Republican plan repeals Medicare’s current policy where seniors are not charged more because of their age. Under the Republican plan, seniors could be forced to pay more for their health care every year, simply because they’ve grown older.
No Affordable Choices
The Republican Medicare plan makes health coverage less affordable for seniors. In the first year it goes into effect, a typical 65-year-old who becomes eligible for Medicare would pay an extra $6,400 for health care, more than doubling what he or she would pay if the plan were not adopted. And the Republican plan would replace extra coverage for low-income enrollees with a capped, insufficient medical savings account.
In sharp contrast, the Affordable Care Act lowers costs for people in Medicare by improving its performance and squeezing out waste, fraud and abuse. The law also provides free preventive care and cheaper prescription drugs for people in Medicare. As a result, we estimate that a typical senior could save $3,500 over the next decade as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act will help make the health care system more open, more transparent and easier to understand.
The Republican plan takes us in the opposite direction. Today, people in Medicare can quickly learn about their benefits. Under the Republican plan, they’d be left in the dark. The Republican plan would force seniors to purchase insurance on their own and critical consumer protections that would make the insurance marketplace easier to understand would be repealed.
The facts are clear: the Affordable Care Act and the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it are very different. It’s heartening to see Republicans aspire to produce a plan that resembles the historic reforms President Obama signed into law. But if they want a proposal that is similar to the Affordable Care Act, they’ll have to head back to the drawing board.
Stephanie Cutter is Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor.