Today, the House Budget Committee released “A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America.” Once again, the budget includes a proposal to create a “premium support” – or voucher – option for future Medicare beneficiaries, starting in 2024. Medicare vouchers would convert much of Medicare from a defined benefit into a defined contribution program. This would significantly undermine the traditional Medicare program that the vast majority of beneficiaries have relied on for 50 years. It would also redesign the Medicare benefit structure by combining the deductible for Parts A and B, and adding a catastrophic cap on out-of-pocket expenses, increasing costs for most beneficiaries.
“There are many common-sense ways to strengthen the Medicare program and make it work better for those it serves,” according to Judith Stein, Executive Director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. “The proposals in this budget, however, ignore those options. Instead, the budget advances a philosophy rather than real deficit reduction plans. Once again, the Republican budget seeks to further privatize Medicare and shift additional costs to beneficiaries.”
“To produce real savings for Medicare, beneficiaries and taxpayers, the budget should ensure Medicare pays fair prices for prescription drugs, and the same rate for beneficiaries in private Medicare plans as for those in traditional Medicare,” Stein continued.
Further advancing a governing philosophy, the budget also aims to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid expansion. This would disrupt health care for millions of Americans. The proposed budget also makes deep cuts to Medicaid and jeopardizes the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund.
“This is a budget proposal we cannot afford to support,” said Stein.