A report by the public policy research group the Center for American Progress has concluded that seniors would pay, on average, $60,000 more for health care over the course of their retirement under the Medicare replacement plan proposed by presumptive Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The report also refutes the Republican candidates’ claim that no one currently over 55 will be affected by the changes.
“Using data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other government agencies along with parameters from published academic research studies,” reads the report, “this study analyzes the impact of the Romney-Ryan plan on current and future seniors and shows that the increase in health care costs under the Romney-Ryan plan would be financially debilitating for all seniors.”
One of the primary talking points that Romney and Ryan have been using in their attempts to calm seniors’ fears about reductions in their Medicare coverage is that no one who is currently 55 years of age or older will be affected by the program. The report says that this claim is false for two reasons.
By repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” the Romney-Ryan plan will immediately raise the cost of medications and Medicare premiums for current seniors, imposing an estimated $11,000 in additional costs for retirement of people now 65 and older.
Also, by cutting Medicaid, the Romney-Ryan plan will increase costs for long-term care and nursing home stays for people on both Medicaid and Medicare. Unlike the “Premium Support” voucher system proposed by Romney and Ryan, which would begin in 2023, the cuts to Medicaid would come immediately.
Costs to seniors under the Romney-Ryan telescope wildly for each successive generation of senior citizens. People who will become seniors in 2023 will face an additional $59,000 in health expenses (in 2012 dollars) over the course of their retirement than they would under the current plan. People turning 65 in 2030 will pay $124,600 more. Those turning 65 in 2040 will pay $216,600 more, and 2050′s seniors will pay approximately $331,200 more in Medicare costs over the course of their retirements.
Also, by revoking the consumer protections enshrined in the ACA, the Republican plan allows insurance companies to cherry-pick customers, excluding people with pre-existing conditions and shrinking the risk pool, enabling companies to raise costs and premiums.
The Center for American Progress cautions that its numbers are conservative. It has based its research on the Ryan plan that he released (and that was endorsed by Romney) earlier this year. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that Ryan’s original 2011 budget plan “would result in increased costs that are several orders of magnitude greater than those modeled here.”
You can download the full report here: .pdf