New Study: Romney/Ryan Medicare Reform Would Raise Costs for Seniors
A new study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that nearly six in ten seniors would likely pay higher premiums for their Medicare benefits under a "premium-support" system. In a premium-support system, seniors would receive a voucher from the government to buy an insurance plan on the market. They would theoretically be able to choose between competing private plans and traditional Medicare.
The study suggests that seniors who remain in the traditional Medicare system will pay more, with an annual increase of about $720, while those who opt for a private plan will be unable to cover the cost of the benefits they currently receive under Medicare with their voucher. This could force 25 million Americans to pay more under a premium-support plan for their current benefits. Analysts warn that private insurance companies competing for the healthiest (and least costly) patients will leave the sick seniors in the traditional Medicare system, straining it and ultimately collapsing the public program.
Earlier this year, the AARP made their stance on the issue of a premium-support system clear when they released a statement saying that it "simply risks increasing costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare's promise of secure health coverage -- a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work."
The model used by the foundation was "generally based on an approach included in House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's fiscal year 2013 budget plan, the proposal Chairman Ryan co-sponsored with Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon." Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney "has supported a premium-support system along these lines," and has selected House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan as his running mate in the 2012 Presidential election.
In a CNN Op-Ed posted today, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called the Romney/Ryan plan a "blueprint for the eventual destruction of Medicare as we know it." She went on to say, "voters, be aware this year: Medicare is on the ballot, and its future is in jeopardy. Democrats created Medicare and will always fight to strengthen it for our seniors and for their families."
Media Resources: Kaiser Family Foundation 10/15/2012; ThinkProgress 10/15/2012; CNN 10/16/2012; AARP 4/27/2012
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .