People with longer memories than most will recall there have been three major Medicare fights in the past 16 years. In 1995, after Republicans took control of Congress, retirees, the labor movement, and other key democratic forces, coalitions, and organizations stood up sucessfully to a GOP attem to privatize and slash Medicare.
In 2005 a similar Republican Party effort – with full control of all three branches of government – was again staved off by labor and democratic push back.
And it looks as though Republicans are again signalling they are caving on the Medicare issue. Will they ever learn?
This political issue isn't dead, and working-class people will have to continue to stand up to the Republicans and the corporate forces behind them that want to end Medicare. As long as Republicans win majorities in Congress, for them, slashing Medicare will always be on the table.
But here is more information to use in the push back against the GOP demand to slash Medicare. It's from the Alliance for Retired Americans:
Under 55-Year-Olds Need an Extra $182,000 to Pay for Republican Medicare Plan
A 54-year-old today will have to save an additional $182,000 in their IRA or 401(k) before he or she retires to pay for the House Republican plan to dismantle Medicare, an analysis released Thursday by U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) found. The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) estimated that individuals born in 1957 would need $182,000 by the time they retire at 65 to pay the additional costs imposed by the Republican plan if they live to 84. The analysis was included in a letter to Rep. Miller. “Under the Republican plan, seniors will go into debt. They will be forced to sell their homes that they spent a lifetime paying off. And they will have to rely on their children just to pay for basic medical care,” said Miller. Last month, House Republicans voted to end the guaranteed benefits of Medicare, and replace them with a plan that would force seniors to find private insurance with the assistance of a voucher. Since the voucher‟s value relative to health care costs would decrease over time, and private insurance costs are higher than traditional Medicare, seniors retiring in 2022 under the Republican plan would be forced to pay much higher costs than under current law. As a result, CEPR found that the average senior beginning in 2022 would have to save $182,000 to cover these additional costs. The data assumes a return of 3% in real interest during the retirement years. To view the letter from CEPR to Rep. Miller, go to http://bit.ly/jQpFVN.
In addition, the White House released state-by-state data today on how much in new benefits Medicare recipients will receive as a result of health reform passed in 2009:
It’s been a little more than a year since the Affordable Care Act became law, but seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare are already reaping its benefits. Thanks to the new law, seniors have access to free preventive care and a free annual wellness visit. People who hit the Medicare prescription drug donut hole are getting a 50 percent discount on their prescription drugs. We have protected and expanded guaranteed benefits for all 47 million Americans on Medicare. And estimates indicate that the new benefits and services provided to seniors by the Affordable Care Act will save the typical senior over $3,500 over the next decade.
So, for example in Michigan alone:
Last year more than 90,000 Medicare recipients in the state of Michigan got a rebate check for $250 to help cover the cost of Rx drugs. This year they got a discount of 50 percent when they hit the "donut hole."
1.7 million Michigan Medicare recipients were eligible this year for free preventive care like cancer screenings, mammograms and annual wellness check-ups.
Medicare recipients in Michigan paid altogether almost $100 million less for Part B premiums than they likely would have without health reform.
Republicans want to take this away to pay for more tax cuts for the rich.