May 25, 2011
Consumers Applaud Senate for Standing Firm Against Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid
Statement of Robert Restuccia, Executive Director, Community Catalyst on the Senate vote on the House of Representatives' 2012 Budget Plan
(BOSTON, MA) - "Today's Senate vote on efforts to undermine Medicare and Medicaid were a firm rejection of a disastrous plan that would take away the health security Americans have counted on since 1965 and force the most vulnerable Americans to shoulder a disproportionate share of the nation's budget problems. We are very grateful to every Senator who voted against the plan, particularly to those who went against their party leadership.
"Medicare and Medicaid must be protected. They are the foundation of our health care system, ensuring Americans get the care we need as we age, or if we become disabled or fall on hard times. The House Republican plan would effectively end Medicare as we know it by privatizing it and forcing future beneficiaries to pay twice as much than if they were on traditional Medicare.
"Though much has been said about the impact of the House plan on Medicare, we are particularly appreciative of Members who voted against gutting Medicaid. We urge Members to stay the course because threats to this vital program remain. Proposals to block grant Medicaid, cap federal expenditures or allow states to cut Medicaid eligibility would cause serious harm to millions of seniors and their families who rely on Medicaid for long-term care, people with disabilities who benefit from Medicaid services that allow them to live independently, and children who depend on Medicaid to see a doctor when they get sick or injured. The American public agrees: A Kaiser poll released this week shows 60 percent of Americans favor keeping the program as it is.
"Federal cuts to critical safety net programs like Medicaid and Medicare are not the answer to addressing the ballooning deficit or rising health care costs - they would simply pass the buck by shifting costs from the federal government to the states, and then on to families and providers.
"Instead, policymakers should build on the cost containment framework that is already part of the Affordable Care Act and focus on reducing excessive insurance premiums, giving people the care they need to stay out of hospitals and nursing homes, and investing in public health measures to reduce heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses that lead to higher health care costs.
"It's important to reduce the deficit and get health care costs under control, but we urge Members of Congress to do so in a humane way that reflects our priorities and doesn't cause harm to the most vulnerable members of our society - those who rely on Medicare and Medicaid to stay healthy and live productive lives."
About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all. Since 1997, Community Catalyst has been working to build the consumer and community leadership required to transform the American health system. With the belief that this transformation will happen when consumers are fully engaged and have an organized voice, Community Catalyst works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to change the health care system so it serves everyone - especially vulnerable members of society. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org.