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Rep. Judy Chu, Seniors and Advocates Denounce Proposed Ryan Budget’s Effects on Medicare, Medicaid

May 2, 2012
Press Release

EL MONTE – Rep. Judy Chu, D-El Monte, joined U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regional Director Herb K. Schultz, local medical providers and seniors to protest the effect the proposed Republican “Ryan Budget” would have on the Medicare/Medicaid systems during a press conference at the AltaMed PACE Community Clinic in El Monte on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

The Ryan Budget, named after its author, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, was adopted by the Republican Leadership and passed the House on a party line vote on April 17, and proposes a complete revamp of the Medicare system. Under the Ryan Budget, the Medicare guarantee that Americans have had for the past 47 years would essentially cease to exist, with the program being transformed into a voucher system.
“So under this plan, instead of seniors going to the doctor and having the government pay their medical bills, they would instead get a set amount to spend from the government and they would be responsible for going out and securing your own health insurance,” said Rep. Chu. “Well we all know health care costs increase over time, and these vouchers would grow much slower than health care costs, leaving seniors to pay more and more out of their own pocket for services they have covered by the government today.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office, seniors would pay $2,200 more out of pocket per year by 2030 under the Republican budget plan, and $8,000 more per year by 2050.

“This is why groups like the AARP and the Center for Medicare Advocacy have rightly pointed out that this budget would end Medicare as we know it,” said Rep. Chu. “And I, for one, will not stand for the Republican Leadership balancing our budget on the backs of our seniors.”
Another change proposed in the Ryan Budget, which has been touted by Republicans as the blueprint for their budget plans if they gain control of the Senate or White House in November, would include bringing back the infamous “Donut Hole” in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. This would eliminate savings of up to $44 billion for seniors’ prescription drug coverage through 2020. The Ryan Budget would also slash Medicaid by $810 billion and convert the program into block grants for the states, eliminating funding for the most vulnerable seniors, individuals with disabilities and low-income children.

Herb Schultz said, “The President's budget strengthens Medicare by cracking down on fraud, while ensuring seniors have better access to important prescription drugs, improving the quality of care, and protecting our commitment to America’s seniors.” 
Local seniors advocates were also on hand at the press conference, expressing their concern about how the Ryan Budget would adversely affect their members.

“The Congressional budget by Representative Paul Ryan puts millions of California seniors at risk,” said Gary Passmore, Vice President and Director for the Congress of California Seniors. “It destroys the promise that Medicare will be there when needed, it threatens support for long-term care at home and in nursing homes, and it underfunds essential programs for frail seniors such as Meals on Wheels. California seniors deserve better.”

“The House of Representatives has declared war... and the enemy is us,” said Marvin Schachter, Commissioner, L.A. County Commission on Older Adults, in regards to the Ryan Budget’s proposed cuts. “Both in Washington and Sacramento, we -- you and I, our children and our grandchildren --  are the targets, not the budget deficits.”

CAPTION: Rep. Judy Chu, D-El Monte, speaks out against the proposed changes to Medicare in the GOP’s “Ryan Budget” at a press conference at AltaMed Community Clinic in El Monte on Wednesday, May 2, 2012