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Dean Heller On Medicare

Heller Says He Is Proud To Be The Only Member Of Congress Who Would Get To Vote For GOP Medicare Plan Twice. Before Dean Heller was sworn in as a Senator, the Associated Press noted that he would likely have to vote again on the Paul Ryan budget plan. “Once Heller joins the Senate, Reid could call up for a vote the House budget blueprint that the chamber passed last month. The nonbinding plan would cut $6.2 trillion from yearly federal deficits over the coming decade. The plan makes changes to Medicare and Medicaid that some Democrats say would prove unpopular in next year’s elections. ‘I’m not worried about it. I voted for it once. I’m not going to come over here and vote against it,’ Heller said. ‘I’m proud to be the only member of Congress who will get to vote for it twice.’” [Associated Press, 5/3/11 (emphasis added)]

Heller Voted In The House for the Ryan Plan To End Medicare As We Know It And Double Out-Of-Pocket Costs For Seniors. Heller voted for adoption of House Concurrent Resolution 34, the House GOP-proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 authored by Paul Ryan. The GOP budget included proposals to convert the federal share of Medicaid to a block grant to states. It also called for converting Medicare for persons currently younger than 55 into a “premium support system” through which the government would pay private insurance companies directly for each enrollee. The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported that “The Ryan budget plan would cut federal spending on Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, and begin distributing money by block grant to states. The plan would do away with Medicare’s direct payment for health care for seniors, replacing it with a voucher system in which recipients choose private insurers. The Congressional Budget Office found that part of the plan, which would take effect in 2022, could nearly double out-of-pocket costs for seniors.” In an April 7th, 2011 editorial, the Newark Star-Ledger warned that Paul Ryan’s plan would “end Medicare as we know it.” [Vote 277, 4/15/2011; Ft Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 4/16/2011; Newark Star-Ledger Editorial, 4/7/2011]

Heller Voted In The Senate For The Paul Ryan Budget Plan That Includes Privatizing Medicare.  Heller for a motion to proceed on House Concurrent Resolution 34, the House GOP-passed budget for fiscal year 2012 authored by Paul Ryan. [Vote 77, 5/25/2011]

Las Vegas Sun: Paul Ryan Budget Was “Radical, Right-Wing Social Engineering,” Medical Costs For Seniors Would “Skyrocket.” A Las Vegas Sun editorial wrote that the Paul Ryan Budget plan was “radical, right-wing social engineering” because it “would leave people under 55 years old without the guarantee of Medicare in their senior years. Instead, when they reach retirement age, they would get a voucher to pay for private health insurance. Studies of the proposal show the vouchers wouldn’t cover the full cost of insurance. As a result, seniors would see their costs for medical care skyrocket.” [Las Vegas Sun Editorial, 5/26/11]

Las Vegas Sun: GOP Attempted To Use Economic Crisis To Advance Extreme Agenda, Hurt Middle Class. A Las Vegas Sun editorial in response to the Ryan Budget Plan accused the GOP of using the “economic downturn to try to advance their agenda, which would hurt seniors, families and the middle class.” [Las Vegas Sun Editorial, 5/26/11]

Heller Said He Was “Proud” Of His Vote To End Medicare As We Know It, Twice. Heller told the AP, “I’m proud to be the only member of Congress who will get to vote for it twice.”  In an April 7th, 2011 editorial, the Newark Star-Ledger warned that Paul Ryan’s plan would “end Medicare as we know it.” [Reno Gazette-Journal, 5/3/11; Newark Star-Ledger Editorial, 4/7/2011]

House GOP Budget Does Not Restore $500 Billion To Medicare. As reported by the Associated Press: “In a postelection reversal, House Republicans are supporting nearly $450 billion in Medicare cuts that they criticized vigorously last fall after Democrats and President Barack Obama passed them as part of their controversial health care law. The cuts are included in the 2012 budget that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled last week and account for a significant share of the $5.8 trillion in claimed savings over the next decade.” [Associated Press, 4/13/11]

Nevada Senior Care Association President: Ryan Budget Slashed $1.4 Trillion From Medicare. Janice Ayres, President of the Nevada Senior Care Association, wrote in a Nevada Appeal op-ed that the Ryan Budget will end Medicare as we know it. “His plan privatizes Medicare and turns care over to insurance companies that won’t cover what Medicare now covers.” Moreover, “Ryan’s plan guts Medicaid by slashing $1.4 trillion from the program, thus endangering long-term care services for seniors and the disabled.” [Nevada Appeal, 5/31/11]

Ayers: By 2030, Seniors Will Spend Over $20,000 Per Year On Health Care. According to Nevada Senior Care Association President Janice Ayers, “By 2030, Medicare vouchers would be about $9,750 a year while annual medical costs would be about $30,460, leaving seniors with an average of $20,700 to pay.” [Nevada Appeal, 5/31/11]