A fascinating story from the Loveland Reporter-Herald’s Alicia Stice: responding to criticism of Rep. Cory Gardner’s vote for the “Ryan Plan” 2012 budget, a textbook deception:
A group of about 50 people gathered Thursday outside of U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner’s Fort Collins office to protest his recent vote for a budget proposal that would make changes to the federal Medicare program.
The demonstration focused on how the proposed changes to Medicare, by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would affect younger citizens…
Rachel Boxer, spokeswoman for the congressman, said Gardner does not support cutting Medicare benefits for seniors who currently rely on the program and that if passed, Ryan’s proposed budget would not affect people over the age of 55.
“It’s important that people understand people 55 and over will not be affected,” she said. “Under the Ryan plan, overall funding for Medicare increases every year, so the plan is not being cut at all,” she said. [Pols emphasis]
First of all, it takes a fairly amateurish spokesperson to note one moment how people over 55 would not be “affected,” then to assert that Medicare is not being “cut at all.” If nothing’s being cut, who is “affected?” But of course, that’s pretty far from the real problem here.
Because as a depressingly small percentage of the voting public seems to understand today, ignorance eagerly encouraged by spokespersons like Rachel Boxer, we have this thing called population growth in America, and when you combine that with this other totally inevitable thing called inflation, funding for a major social safety net program will pretty much always “increase every year.” But, as the Congressional Budget Office patiently explained early on, The “Ryan Plan” would definitely feel like a change from Medicare as you know it today.
When you make the switch to cat food.
Seniors and people with disabilities would pay much more for health care under a new Republican plan aimed at curbing the nation’s growing debt, a Congressional Budget Office analysis shows.
For example, by 2030, typical 65-year-olds would pay 68 percent of the cost of premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs, according to the CBO. They would pay 25 percent under the current Medicare system, the CBO said… [Pols emphasis]
Besides eventually eliminating traditional Medicare, the 10-year budget proposal would transform Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor. Ryan would give states block grants and end federal rules specifying who receives what benefits, leaving those determinations to the states. The plan would cut the amount that states receive by hundreds of billions of dollars over a decade. [Pols emphasis]
…The CBO report said the average government payment for a 65-year-old in 2022 would be $8,000. In each successive year, it would increase to reflect inflation and the enrollee’s age. Patients’ share would increase sharply, because health-care costs are expected to continue to increase faster than the inflation rate. [Pols emphasis]
It’s not a new story–what it is does represent, though, is a grave political problem for every member of Congress who voted for the Paul Ryan 2012 budget, in every congressional district that emerges from the redistricting process at all competitive. That’s why you’re not getting anything like a straight answer on the effects of the plan they voted for. They don’t have one you’ll like, and once you get past the deflection and misrepresentation, you discover that they know it.
We received a press release from the group “Colorado Eye on Congress” who organized this protest Thursday at Gardner’s offices; reprinted after the jump.
Gardner Spokesperson misrepresents Ryan Plan
On June 16, 2011 Representative Cory Gardner’s spokesperson Rachel Boxer released a statement in regard to the 55 under 55 rally at his Fort Collins office. The rally was intended to draw attention to the fact that Gardner wasn’t saying what was in store for his constituents under the age of 55 in the Ryan budget that Gardner voted for, but the Statement from Gardner’s office revealed a great deal more.
“The Ryan budget that he (Gardner) voted for does not cut Medicare funding rather it increases funding for the program. It also saves Medicare for future generations and has no affect on people 55 and older” said Rachel Boxer, Gardner’s spokesperson. That statement does not add up with the facts.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office clearly stated in their review of the Ryan budget that it would cut healthcare coverage for seniors to only 32% by the year 2030. Additionally, the average 44 year old would have to save an additional $287,000 to make up the difference in the cut to Medicare according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
“This means that my older brother had better start saving now for his healthcare costs in retirement now. $287,000 is as much as buying a whole other house” Said Mark Evans, Executive Director of Eyes on Congress. “If our representative supports legislation like this, we’re going to lose our house the first time we get sick when we’re seniors.”
Representative Gardner sent out a mailing to people 55 and older that precipitated the controversy; stating that “if you are 55 or older, Medicare and Social Security benefits will not change for you – ever”
That is another statement that doesn’t ring true, according to factcheck.org, the Plan D “donut hole” will return if the Ryan/Gardner budget plan were to succeed. So that is a misrepresentation of the facts as well
“There seems to be a recurring theme that we aren’t always getting the correct story from our representative” said Carla Massaro a concerned constituent who lives in CD 4. “The Letter I received in the mail from Representative Gardner pretty much said it all. ‘It is a shame that some people are spreading misinformation’ I just didn’t think that it would come from the man represents us in Washington”