WASHINGTON, D.C. ñ Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement on a House Republican budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2012 that eliminates Medicare by privatizing it. |WASHINGTON, D.C. ñ Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement on a House Republican budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2012 that eliminates Medicare by privatizing it. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) and the Appropriations subcommittee that funds health efforts.
“This is not about deficit reduction. This is all about ideology. House Republicans are taking a meat ax to programs for the middle class, and especially our senior citizens ñ everything from cancer research to Pell Grants to Medicare. It’s the same game plan: Give huge tax cuts to the wealthy, and give budget cuts to the middle class and the most vulnerable people in our society, including seniors and people with disabilities.
“This new tea party budget proposal gives new meaning to the term extreme and it represents an assault on the middle class in Iowa and around the country that is breathtaking both in both scope and depth. It could not come at a worse time for working Americans, who are already under enormous strain.
“The American people will not stand for this unwise, unbalanced, unfair assault on their economic security and way of life. And neither will I.”
The budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2012 released today by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.):
Eliminates Medicare, creating a new voucher program with seniors paying out-of-pocket for many life-saving health care costs. This would raise premiums and cut benefits for 25 million seniors.
Reopens the prescription drug donut hole, requiring seniors to pay $3,600 more for prescription drugs.
Block-grants Medicaid and cuts $1 trillion in health care services, which would end vital services that seniors and disabled Americans depend on like coverage for nursing homes and home health aides. By shifting costs to states, this would worsen state budget deficits and lead to higher property taxes.