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Brewer Statement on Pete Hoekstra’s Plan to End Medicare as We K

Mar 05, 2012

March 5, 2012

Contact: John Tramontana


Brewer Statement on Pete Hoekstra’s Plan to End Medicare as We Know It

Hoekstra Campaigning in Michigan Today with Paul Ryan, Author of Plan to End Medicare and Force Seniors onto Private Insurance Market—while Giving Billionaires Another Tax Cut

– Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer today held a conference call with reporters on Pete Hoekstra’s plan to end Medicare and force seniors to pay thousands more every year in out-of-pocket health costs.  Hoekstra held a $5,000 per plate VIP lunch and reception today in Southfield with Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, author of the infamous “Ryan budget plan” that would end Medicare as we know it and increase the average Michigan senior’s annual health costs by nearly $7,000 ($6,880) per year—while slashing taxes for millionaires and billionaires.  Hoekstra has vocally endorsed the plan and voted for a similar plan when he was in Congress.

“For Pete Hoekstra to be supporting a plan to make seniors pay $7,000 more for their health care while giving billionaires yet another huge tax break shows how ridiculously upside down his priorities are,” Brewer said.  “But further rigging the rules for the folks at the top is exactly what you’d expect from a guy who works at a D.C. lobby firm like Hoekstra does.”

While the plan Ryan wrote and Hoekstra supports would force seniors into the private insurance market and drastically raise their costs, the plan not only preserves the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires—it adds an even bigger millionaire tax cut on top of it.

Ryan’s “Road Map for America,” which Hoekstra voted for when he was in Congress, also proposes privatizing and cutting Social Security.

Brewer added, “A couple weeks ago Pete Hoekstra promised to raise middle class taxes with Herman Cain, now he’s promising to end Medicare as we know it.  Hoekstra’s pandering to the extreme right-wing might help in his primary, but the policies he’s embracing will be extremely harmful to the vast majority of Michigan residents.”

BACKGROUND: Facts on the Pete Hoekstra/Paul Ryan plan:

Hoekstra Supports Ryan Budget, Said We Need to Go Even Further. During a campaign stop, Hoekstra said, "Paul Ryan is a good friend of mine. Paul's going to endorse me, and I would've supported his budget. The problem with Paul's budget is that he didn't get it balanced for 28 years. You've got to actually be more aggressive." [Hoekstra Campaign Stop at Oakland University, 11/9/2011]

2011: Hoekstra Lauded Ryan Budget Proposal. In June 2011, Newsmax reported: “Hoekstra lauded House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which the House approved. ‘Paul put a program out that we all ought to look at seriously,’ Hoekstra said. ‘It has fundamental reforms of Medicare…’” According to Newsmax, Hoekstra “‘absolutely’ supports the overall direction. Ryan deserves tremendous credit, Hoekstra said…. ‘Paul has led, and the president hasn’t,’ Hoekstra said.” [Newsmax, 6/12/11]

2009: Hoekstra Voted for 2009 Alternative Ryan Budget that Would Put Medicare on the Chopping Block and Partially Privatize the Program.
In 2009, Hoekstra voted for the Republican budget, including cuts in federal spending that “could severely curtail Medicare, which Republicans would overhaul for Americans now younger than 55 by subsidizing private health insurance for them when they retire.” [H Con. Res. 85, Vote #191, 4/2/09; New York Times, 4/2/09]

Wall Street Journal: GOP Plan Would “End Medicare.” According to the Wall Street Journal, “The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/04/11]

NPR: Key Part of GOP Plan Is “Ending Medicare.” According to NPR, “Ending Medicare as we know it is a key part” of the GOP budget plan. [NPR, 4/04/11]

Former Bush CMS Director: GOP Plan “Gets Rid of” Medicare. Tom Scully -- former Bush administration director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said: "It gets rid of -- and I would do that -- gets rid of the current Medicare program where the government is the insurance company and the government sets the prices.” [TPM, 6/14/11]

The Republican Budget Blueprint for FY 2012, AKA The Ryan Budget, Ends Medicare As We Know It and slashes taxes for millionaires. The House Republican budget blueprint drafted by Paul Ryan effectively ends Medicare. It calls 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. It also proposes consolidating the current six tax brackets and cutting the corporate tax rate and the top individual tax rate to 25 percent. It assumes the extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts beyond 2012 and projects that the budget deficit would be reduced to $391 billion by fiscal 2021. The resolution was adopted 235-193. [H Con Res 34, Vote 277, 4/15/11]

Republican Budget Would Almost Double Healthcare Costs For Seniors. “The Republican congressman's proposal to privatize Medicare would mean a dramatic hike in U.S. healthcare costs for the elderly, an independent analysis finds. Seniors would pay almost double — more than $12,510 a year.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/7/11]

National Journal: Policies Will Affect Millions of Seniors Almost Immediately. “The policies in the House GOP budget, if enacted, would begin affecting millions of seniors almost immediately by increasing their costs for prescription drugs and probably long-term care.” [National Journal, 6/02/11]

National Journal: Medicare Beneficiaries Would “Lose Access to a Host of Preventative Care Benefits.” “If Congress were to pass Ryan’s plan and repeal the law, as House Republicans want, the 3 million to 4 million seniors left in the doughnut hole each year would immediately face significant out-of-pocket costs. They and all other Medicare beneficiaries would also lose access to a host of preventative-care benefits in the health care law, including free wellness visits to physicians, mammograms, colonoscopies, and programs to help smokers quit.” [National Journal, 6/02/11]

AARP: Budget Undermines Vital Programs for Older Americans. “Among its provisions, the proposal would drive up costs for people in Medicare, take away needed coverage for long-term care from millions of older and disabled Americans and reduce critical help for seniors facing the threat of hunger.”  [AARP, 4/7/11]



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