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· September 14, 2012

Seniors in Ohio would pay more – a lot more – for health care if Romney elected

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said over and over that Ohio’s current seniors won’t pay more for Medicare under the Romney-Ryan plan. That’s just plain false. In a report we issued this week, The Real Cost of the Romney-Ryan Plan to Ohioans, we explain the reality for today’s retirees and tomorrow’s seniors. Our research partner for the report was the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

How Romney Costs Today’s Seniors More for Medicare

Under Romney-Ryan, today’s seniors would pay more for Medicare out of pocket in higher premiums and increased cost for prescription drugs. This is tied to two huge policy changes:
  1. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
  2. Converting the current federal-state joint Medicaid program into a state-administered block grant program at a reduced rate of funding.
A repeal of the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – would drive costs up for seniors immediately. Obamacare has done three important things for seniors. First, it is closing the so-called donut hole that unfairly cost some seniors more in drug costs. Under Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit in Medicare, seniors are covered up to $2,250 in annual costs then the coverage lapses until a $5,100 threshold is reached. In between there is no coverage – the donut hole. Romney’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act would put the donut hole right back on seniors. Second, Obamacare instituted several preventive checkups for seniors that are wholly paid for by Medicare. From our report:
In Ohio, more than 600,000 seniors who rely on their Medicare benefits receive one or more preventive services—such as cancer screenings, diabetes testing, and bone density scans—free of charge through their Medicare plan. This is saving Ohio seniors money each year and also providing them with the care needed to protect their health.
Innumerable studies show that resources spent on preventive care – like routine checkups and screenings for common ailments – saves more money in the longrun throughout the healthcare system. It’s the difference between healthcare – catching things early – and sick care – paying more to treat illness when it’s become more serious. Third, the Romney-Ryan plan calls for block granting Medicaid and cutting the amount the federal government spends on the program. Many seniors and their families end up relying on Medicaid to help defray the costs of long-term care. Romney’s cuts to Medicaid, according to CAP, would increase the cost of nursing home care by about $2,500 per year for seniors on Medicare and Medicaid. Our research estimates that when you add it all up, a Romney presidency could cost today’s seniors up to $11,000 more out of pocket per year for their healthcare. Can you afford that?

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