U.S. House Republicans, Including All from Virginia, Vote To Destroy Medicare

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    A little while ago, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the extreme, reactionary, bizarre plan (the Orwellian name for it is “Path to Prosperity,” sort of like “war is peace” in “1984”) by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), which Democrats have rightly labeled the “Road to Ruin.”

    Personally, I’d call it the “Highway to Hell!”

    Anyway, here’s the roll call vote: 235 Republicans in favor of Rep. Ryan’s plan, 189 Democrats (and 4 Republicans) against it. Note that every Virginia Republican, including supposed “moderate” (not sure how on earth anyone could believe that anymore!) Frank Wolf, voted to destroy Medicare. Note that every Virginia Democrat voted against destroying Medicare. For more, see Rep. Connolly’s statement on the “flip.”

    Also, check out Ezra Klein’s analysis on how this was a VERY risky vote for many House Republicans:

    House Republicans, conversely, have just taken a very difficult vote – remember that Ryan’s bill includes all the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts, plus further cuts and privatization, plus tax cuts for rich Americans – on a bill the Senate will certainly ignore, and that Democrats are aching to campaign against. Rep. Steve Israel, the head of the Democrats’ House campaign strategy, is probably being optimistic when he says that “people will look back at this vote as a defining one that secured the majority for Democrats,” but it’s not that hard to imagine a chastened Republican Party wondering in 2013 whether it should’ve been a bit more strategic.

    In other words, this was a case where Republicans managed to get not just the policy wrong, but also the politics. Let’s hope they keep making huge, unforced errors like they did today!

    CONNOLLY VOTES NO ON GOP BUDGET BILL DISMANTLING MEDICARE

    Reckless House Republican Budget Bill Breaks Faith with America’s Seniors

    WASHINGTON – Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) today voted against final House passage of the Republican’s fiscal year 2012 budget plan that would dismantle the Medicare program for America’s seniors.

    “I could not support the Republican majority’s draconian budget plan that would destroy the Medicare program and break faith with our seniors,” Connolly said after the vote.  “Denying and rationing medical care for seniors, increasing out-of-pocket costs for medical services and prescription drugs, and putting the fate of our seniors in the hands of the private insurance companies do not represent my values or the values of most Virginians or Americans.”

    Connolly pointed out that before Medicare was enacted in 1965 about half of all senior citizens lacked any form of health insurance, compared to today where every senior has access to health care coverage through Medicare.

    The House passed the bill Friday afternoon by a vote of 235-193.  It was opposed by every House Democrat and a handful of Republicans.

    Connolly said the House-passed legislation would force seniors to pay about $7,000 more each year in premiums and co-insurance fees and it would reopen the Medicare Part D doughnut hole that forced seniors to pay thousands of dollars for prescription drugs.  “Not one dollar of the increased costs to seniors would be used to reduce the deficit,” Connolly said.  “Instead, the Republican plan lines the pockets of the private insurance companies.”

    Instead of receiving guaranteed health care under Medicare, seniors would receive vouchers to help them pay for private insurance.  Unfortunately, the Republican-passed budget for next year also repeals important reforms prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, Connolly said.  “This puts every senior with a pre-existing condition at risk.  Even those who can afford the increased costs of privatized care could find themselves denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition,” he said.

    “This budget shreds the contract that this country has with seniors after a life time of work,” Connolly said.  “By slashing Medicare, it takes away the last protection for seniors late in life and forces them to fend for themselves at a time when they are most susceptible to illness, disease, and injury.”

    Noting that the cost of health care for seniors would double within 10 years and triple by 2030 under the legislation, Connolly said, “I was proud to stand with America’s seniors in the fight to save Medicare.”  

    The Virginia congressman cited a letter from 192 economists and health care experts warning that the legislation “would undermine essential protections for millions of vulnerable people.”  

    “This bill won’t reduce health care costs, it just shifts the burden to our individual seniors,” Connolly said.  “I could not support a Path to the Past which returns us to the law of the jungle and the survival of the fittest, throwing the young, the elderly, the sick and the disadvantaged to their own fate.”

    • …this is hilarious!

    • House Republicans just voted to roll back nearly 50 years of security and dignity for America’s seniors in one fell swoop by voting to end Medicare.

      At the same time, their reckless budget would give even more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.

      We only have hours left to raise the $17,000 more we need to fund a Rapid Response ad campaign to hold Republicans accountable for ending Medicare.

      Contribute $3 or more before Midnight Tonight so Democrats can launch a Rapid Response ad campaign to hold Republicans responsible for their reckless effort to end Medicare.

      Replacing Medicare with an inadequate voucher system is not keeping our word to America’s seniors.

      Help us make a powerful stand against the Republicans’ shameful agenda to end Medicare, so we can win this fight and hold Republicans accountable.

      Thank you.

      Nancy Pelosi

      Democratic Leader

    • pontoon

      “By failing to adopt a budget last year, the Democrat Congress allowed Washington’s reckless spending to go unchecked, adding trillions to our debt and deficits. Despite our dire debt crisis, the President’s budget proposal for 2012 continues to put our country on an unsustainable path. It increases our spending and borrowing, nearly doubling our debt over the next decade, imposes $1.5 trillion in new job-destroying taxes on families and small businesses, and fails to take any action to preserve our health and retirement programs.

      “The House Republican budget proposal, however, is an honest, straightforward, and responsible approach to the serious fiscal challenges that face the 5th District and our nation, and leads where both Congressional Democrats and the President have previously and continuously failed to lead.

      “Delivering on the message sent by Central and Southside Virginians to return fiscal discipline and restraint to Washington, the Republicans’ ‘Path to Prosperity’ budget is an important first step that cuts spending, reduces our debt and deficits, spurs job creation and economic growth, and strengthens and protects our health and retirement programs.

      “The proposal begins to balance the budget and pay down the debt by cutting $6.2 trillion in government spending and reducing the deficit by $4.4 trillion over the next decade and reining in government spending to 20 percent of the economy by 2017. It repeals and defunds the government takeover of health care and prevents and eliminates trillions in tax increases. And it seeks to save our health and retirement programs for both this generation and the next, while ensuring there is no change in benefits for those at or near retirement.

      “As House Republicans continue to take the necessary steps to get our fiscal house in order to foster a better environment for job growth, it is my hope that all of us in Washington can come together and work to address these important issues so that we can leave our children and grandchildren with an even more prosperous America.”

      Background Information

      SPENDING

         * Cuts $6.2 trillion in government spending over the next decade compared to the President’s budget, and $5.8 trillion relative to the current-policy baseline.

         * Brings government spending to below 20 percent of the economy.

      DEBT AND DEFICITS

         * Reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion compared to the President’s budget over the next decade.

         * Reaches primary budget balance in 2015.

         * Puts the budget on the path to balance and pays offthe debt.

      TAXES

         * Prevents the $1.5 trillion tax increase called for in the President’s budget.

         * Eliminates roughly $800 billion in tax increases imposed by the Democrats’ health care law.

      GROWTH AND JOBS

         * Creates nearly 1 million new private-sector jobs next year and results in 2.5 million additional private sector jobs in the last year of the decade.

         * Spurs economic growth, increasing real GDP by $1.5 trillion over the decade.

      PATIENT-CENTERED HEALTH CARE

         * Repeals and defunds the President’s health care law, advancing instead common-sense solutions focused on lowering costs, expanding access and protecting the doctor-patient relationship.

    • See ABC News for more:

      Rep. Paul Ryan and his Budget, which would change the face of Medicare,  will be the cornerstone of Democrats election strategy in 2012, according to Rep. Steve Israel, the Democrat in charge of taking back the House in 2012, appearing on ABC’s Top Line today.

      Israel distilled Democrats’ message into what a likely campaign ad would be.  

      “Well all we have to do is use the ad Republicans used against Democrats,” he said. “They ran these ads saying I’m going to come to Washington to protect Medicare and we’re going to remind the American people they lied about us, all we have to do is tell the truth about them. And the truth is in today’s vote to terminate the Medicare guaranteed benefit. All we have to do is tell the truth and we’ll win the House back.

    • That moment where we looked more like the British Parliament than we did the typically rather buttoned-up HofR.

    • According to Senate Democrats, 91,377 Virginia seniors would be impacted by the “donut hole” in 2012 under the Republican budget.

      NEW REPORT: GOP BUDGET WOULD IMMEDIATELY REPEAL ‘DONUT HOLE’ FIX, COSTING SENIORS ADDITIONAL $44B IN Rx DRUG COSTS THROUGH 2020

      Republican Budget Would Roll Back ‘Donut Hole’ Fix; New Reform That Just Took Effect Provides 50% Discount To Seniors Who Hit Gap In Medicare Drug Coverage

      New State-By-State Report Outlines Devastating Immediate Impact On Nation’s Seniors-Next Year Alone, Seniors Currently In Donut Hole Would Pay An Additional $2.2 Billion For Prescription Drugs

      Senators: ‘Extreme GOP Budget Proposal Would Start Hurting Seniors From Day One’

      Washington, D.C. – Today, Senate Democrats released a new report outlining how the House Republicans’ FY2012 budget proposal will begin harming seniors immediately if passed into law.  This contradicts GOP claims that the budget does not affect Medicare for anyone 55 or older.

      If the budget-drafted by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI)-is enacted into law, it will cost the average senior who currently falls into the “donut hole” approximately $11,794 between 2012 and 2020, according to a report issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.  In all, Ryan’s budget will cost seniors an estimated $44 billion in prescription drug costs over that period, including $2.2 billion next year alone.  In 2010, approximately 3.7 million seniors fell into the “donut hole.”

      “If Congressman Ryan’s budget plan were to be enacted into law, it would immediately hurt senior citizens currently enrolled in Medicare,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Center.  “The oft-repeated talking point that the Republican budget won’t impact current enrollees is simply not true.”

      The Republican budget plan would repeal parts of the federal health care law, including measures to close the “donut hole.”  Health reform fixed a deficiency in the Medicare prescription drug program by addressing the gap in Medicare Part D that had forced beneficiaries to pay 100 percent of their drug costs after they exceeded an initial coverage limit and until they qualified for catastrophic coverage. That gap in coverage-which totaled $3,610 in 2010-has existed since the drug benefit’s creation in 2006.

      Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in March 2010, seniors who get stuck in the “donut hole” will now see the costs of their brand name drugs discounted by 50 percent, phasing out the “donut hole” completely over the next ten years.

      The DPPC projections for this report used data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  

    • DCCyclone

      That parliamentary maneuver to force the GOP House members to vote for the RSC’s full-bore anarchy bill was a stroke of genius.  Those 119 GOPers who voted for that probably are mostly in safe districts, but I bet once I study the roll call I’ll find some in purple seats.  They might be toast.

      And on the Ryan budget vote, that’s bad enough to cost them a bunch of seats.

      The only hope Republicans have for 2012 the way they’re playing it is for the economy to stay down, for unemployment to stop declining and job growth to remain stagnant.  If only they played it smart, a recovering economy would make 2012 status quo, Obama and the GOP House both validated.  But the GOP House is on its way to immediate extinction at their present rate.

      BTW, none other than Tom Davis today conceded that some Republicans (didn’t name names, meant it generically) will bite it thanks to this vote today.