April 15, 2011: Markey: In GOP Budget, Medicare Becomes Medicare-LESS

Republican budget scheme would terminate Medicare for almost 5 million in MA, would increase out-of-pocket costs for seniors
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Mary (D-Mass.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, today voted against H.Con.Res. 34, the Republican Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2012. According to analysis this week from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the GOP budget plan would more than double the typical senior’s out-of-pocket health care spending in 2022, compared to what their costs would be under traditional Medicare – increasing their out-of-pocket costs by more than $6,000. Additionally, under the GOP budget, everyone currently under age 55 would not receive Medicare but would be enrolled in the GOP voucher system. In Massachusetts, that would be almost five million people.
“The Republican budget is so cruel, if you kicked it in the heart, you’d break your toe,” said Rep. Markey. “The Republican budget is a disaster for seniors and impoverished Americans who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. It cuts off help for Grandma and Grandpa to pay for the life-saving medications they need. Republicans are trying to turn Medicare into Medicare-LESS – they couldn’t care LESS about Grandma. G.O.P. used to stand for Grand Old Party – now it stands for Get Old People.
“Deficit reduction must be a priority as we continue to rebuild our economy, but it makes no sense to continue tax breaks for the wealthy and subsidies for oil companies while eviscerating the programs that millions of our seniors and the neediest Americans depend on.”
The following are additional examples of how Massachusetts would be negatively impacted by the Republican budget scheme:
Pell Grants: The GOP budget would cut the maximum award from $5,500 by 45%. This would affect 136,880 eligible Massachusetts students, and 10,949 eligible in the 7th District.
Transportation Cuts:  The GOP budget is estimated to cut $219.9 million for Massachusetts, costing 7,648 jobs in the state.
Social Security: There are an estimated 1.2 million Social Security beneficiaries in Massachusetts. The GOP budget estimates $10 billion in cuts to Social Security over 10 years, negatively affecting recipients with the possibility of increased backlogs and longer delays in receiving benefits.
Additionally, the GOP plan also raises prescription drug costs for millions of seniors – getting rid of the health reform law’s provisions providing a 50 percent discount for brand-name drugs for seniors in the ‘donut hole’ and completely closing the ‘donut hole’ by 2020. The GOP plan also raises costs for seniors by getting rid of the new free preventive care benefit under Medicare, which went into effect in January of this year. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the Republican budget’s Medicaid cuts would cause the loss of 2.1 million jobs over the next five years, most of them in the private sector.