No matter who you’re planning to vote for in the upcoming Presidential election, there are a few things all Utahns need to know about Romney’s pick for Vice President, Paul Ryan.
Part 1 – Medicare, Taxes and Fiscal Responsibility
One of the highlights of Paul Ryan’s budget plan is the conversion of Medicare from a healthcare plan to a voucher program. Instead of seniors and disabled individuals having the healthcare benefits they’ve paid for throughout their lives, the Federal Government would instead provide a coupon to use at the doctor. The plan has been widely criticized, because without the safety of co-pays or percentage coverage, our seniors are left vulnerable to rising healthcare prices.
For example, if a doctor charges $1000 for a procedure and your Medicare covers 80%, $800 of the procedure is covered. If the price of that procedure were to double to $2000 (not an unreasonable assumption with the rising prices of healthcare these days), that same 80% coverage would take care of $1600 of the new price.
Under the Ryan Plan, you would no longer receive a percentage but a coupon for a set price. Say your coupon is worth $800, on the $1000 procedure the coverage would be the same as before. But if the cost of the procedure were to raise to $2000, you would be left with a $1200 bill rather than only $400.
97% of Utah Seniors (246,241 Utahns) were enrolled in Medicare as of last year, spending an average of $5,500 per year on their healthcare costs. If the Ryan Plan were to be implemented, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that new seniors coming into Medicare could see those costs go up by an additional $5,900 per year, totaling $11,100 per year when added to the current average.
Add those skyrocketing prices to the fact that Ryan is also calling for the Medicare age to be raised from 65 to 67 – forcing seniors to stay in the workplace for an additional two years – and it provides a pretty bleak outlook for those who are most vulnerable.
But it’s not just Medicare that should have Utahns taking a closer look at Ryan. The tax portion of the Ryan Plan would place serious financial burdens on Utah, with taxes going down for American millionaires, but raising tax rates on the rest of us. Quite simply, Ryan would “extend the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of this year, he would not extend President Obama’s tax cuts for those with the lowest incomes, which will expire at the same time.”
Paul Ryan, and now Mitt Romney, are touting his fiscal responsibility and desire to “get America back on track.” But when examining Ryan’s record, quite a different story began to emerge.
One Wisconsin Now noted that Ryan was a loyal vote for the failed Republican policies that radically increased spending and put untold trillions of dollars on the nation’s credit card including:
- Voting for eight straight Republican budgets that increase federal spending by 50 percent.
- Providing the deciding vote for the $7 trillion unfunded Medicare Part D boondoggle.
- Voting for two wars “off the budget books” that have cost the nation thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.
Paul Ryan’s eight consecutive budget votes hiking the federal budget by 50 percent:
- FY 2000, H CON RES 68, 3/25/99
- FY 2001, H CON RES 290, 3/24/00
- FY 2002, H CON RES 83, 3/28/01
- FY 2003, H CON RES 353, 3/20/02
- FY 2004, H CON RES 95, 3/21/03
- FY 2005, H CON RES 393, 3/25/04
- FY 2006, H CON RES 95, 3/17/05
- FY 2007, H CON RES 376, 5/18/06
[Source: U.S. House Roll Calls, 1999-2006]
The Romney campaign released a statement this morning claiming that Mitt Romney does not endorse the Ryan Plan, although it’s hard to understand their claim as not only did Romney just pick the man to be his running mate, but he’s on record endorsing the Ryan Plan at least 5 times already.
“I think it’d be marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan’s budget and to adopt it and pass it along to the president.” – Mitt Romney April 3, 2012