The House Republican budget has been about as well received as a flat tire, and Speaker John Boehner knows it. In an attempt to spare the GOP from the public outrage over their plan to end Medicare as we know it, Speaker Boehner claimed it “transforms Medicare into a plan that's very similar to the President's own health care bill.” Sadly, he couldn’t further from the truth.
The Republican plan doesn’t guarantee coverage. It privatizes Medicare and does nothing to ensure that insurance companies provide coverage to seniors, leaving them in the lurch. The Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare by lowering costs for preventive care and prescription drugs, improving the quality of care and extending the longevity of the program.
The Republican plan raises costs for seniors. Their budget increases the cost of coverage by an additional $6,400 on average, more than doubling cost projections under current models– and it would squeeze low-income enrollees by limiting their benefits and growing out-of-pocket expenses.
The Affordable Care Act lowers the sheer cost of Medicare by making it more efficient and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse – estimates suggest it would save a typical senior $3,500 over the next 10 years.
As White House Deputy Senior Adviser Stephanie Cutter points out, health care reform creates greater health-care transparency, whereas the Republican proposal would have the opposite effect:
Today, people in Medicare can quickly learn about their benefits. Under the Republican plan, they’d be left in the dark. The Republican plan would force seniors to purchase insurance on their own and critical consumer protections that would make the insurance marketplace easier to understand would be repealed.
While it may be reassuring to see Republicans attempting to embrace the Affordable Care Act, the comparison doesn’t even pass the smell test. Unfortunately for the GOP, no one’s buying it.