Posted by | April 4, 2011 19:46 | Filed under: Top Stories

If Paul Ryan and his Republican cohorts have their way, what for decades has been help  for the sick and needy will be gone. Brian Beutler at TPM looks at the potential fallout. Ryan says the plan will cut the budget by $4 trillion over ten years. Medicare would be replaced with private insurance and Medicaid would be eliminated.

Low-income Medicaid beneficiaries will lose their guaranteed benefits altogether. Currently, Medicaid is jointly financed by the federal government and states, which are required to provide comprehensive health care benefits to people in poverty. Ryan’s plan turns the program into block grants for the states — states get a bunch of cash from the feds and have to make the best of it. For many states, that will mean severe benefit rollbacks.

Seniors, and others on Medicare, would be in a slightly different predicament. Currently seniors 65 and over are guaranteed a defined benefit program: taxpayers finance the system, and the government agrees to pay for seniors’ health care services (though seniors have to pitch in too). Ryan’s plan would leave that system intact for anybody currently on Medicare, or expecting to be on Medicare within 10 years. For everyone else the program would be radically overhauled. Future beneficiaries would no longer have a single payer system to rely on. Rather, they’d be given a menu of private insurance plans to pick from, and subsidies to help pay their premiums. If those premiums skyrocket, that’s on them. If the insurers themselves aren’t required to pay for whatever the doctor orders, then the guaranteed benefits will erode.

In other words, insurance companies don’t take the risk, the insured do. Tax provisions in the plan also help the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class.

Ryan’s plan will also propose tax reforms that lower corporate and upper-income tax rates, while eliminating certain loopholes. The details of that part of his plan are unclear, but if they adhere to his Roadmap for America’s Future, the GOP budget will propose to overhaul the tax code in a way that reduces the burden on the wealthy and increases it on the poor and middle classes.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.