Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Campaign Watch: Romney's Healthcare Plan vs. Paul Ryan's

Former Gov. Mitt Romney and Chairman Paul Ryan, AP Photo
Politico reports that at a policy speech on Friday at the Americans for Prosperity summit, former Gov. Mitt Romney identified possible ways to address the rising cost of Medicare and supported some of the policies suggested by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

Romney supports the creation of a “premium support” program to help Medicare beneficiaries buy a similar, private insurance plan. The only difference between Romney’s proposal and Ryan’s is that Romney wants to keep Medicare as an option for seniors, while Ryan would have eliminated the program for future seniors.

"Under the Romney proposal, Americans with lower incomes would get more support. If consumers choose a less expensive plan, they would be able to keep the savings. If they choose a more expensive plan, they’d have to cover the additional cost. 
'Younger Americans today, when they turn 65, should have a choice between traditional Medicare and other private health care plans that provide at least the same level of benefits,' Romney said in his speech. 'Competition will lower costs and increase the quality of health care for tomorrow’s seniors.'"
The Republican presidential candidate also endorses raising the Medicare eligibility age and turning the Medicaid program into a block-grant approach.

As presidential hopefuls continue to raise up the issues of Medicare and Medicaid, these candidates must also be aware of the impact their proposals would have on long term and post-acute care. The election season continues to ramp up, and more primary debates are on the way - meaning more questions for candidates about how they view the future of long term care... such as:
  • When skilled nursing facilities are often the lowest-cost option for long term care, and additional cuts to these care centers could force seniors into higher-priced alternatives (such as hospitals and emergency rooms) how would you protect access to lower-cost long term care in your administration?
  • Health care reform cut Medicare for skilled nursing facilities by $14.6 billion; meanwhile Medicaid is already underfunded by $5.6 billion. How would you address the future of Medicare and Medicaid funding for nursing homes?
  • By 2030, there will be more than twice the number of elderly Americans than there were at the beginning of the millennium. Roughly 70 percent of elderly Americans need some type of long term care during their lifetimes. How does your administration plan to answer the growing long term care needs of aging Americans?
  • The long term care profession employs over 3.1 million Americans and created 63,000 new jobs in 2010. If more cuts and reductions are made, how will you accommodate the potentially tens of thousands of long term care caregivers who are forced into unemployment?
  • In the United States, more than 1.5 million Americans rely on skilled nursing facilities for their daily needs. Nearly 78 percent of these elderly and disabled rely on Medicare or Medicaid to help pay for the cost of care and recovery. These programs are currently on the table for cuts in order to reduce the deficit. How would you propose ensuring the elderly and disabled receive the care they need?
What are your long term care questions for the presidential candidates?

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