Mitt Romney would end Medicare as we know it by taking steps to privatize it and turn it into a voucher program.
Romney says he wants Medicare to be a reliable safety net “forever,” and he’s proclaimed that “our next president must protect these programs, improve them, and keep them sustainable for generations to come.”
The Romney plan would devastate Medicare and end the program as we know it.
Instead of their guaranteed benefits, seniors would get a voucher that they could use to buy a health insurance plan—either from Medicare or from a private insurance company.
There’s no guarantee the voucher would be big enough to cover seniors’ health care costs. Private plans would be able to cherry-pick the healthier and younger seniors, leaving traditional Medicare to care for the sicker and more expensive patients. Medicare would grow weaker, forcing more and more seniors into plans that restricted their choice of doctor.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains that very similar proposals Republican Paul Ryan has offered—and Mitt Romney enthusiastically supports—would drive up costs for seniors: “In 2022, the first year the voucher would apply, CBO estimates that total health care expenditures for a typical 65-year-old would be almost 40 percent higher with private coverage under the Ryan plan than they would be with a continuation of traditional Medicare. CBO also finds that this beneficiary’s annual out-of-pocket costs would more than double—from $6,150 to $12,500. In later years, as the value of the voucher eroded, the increase in out-of-pocket costs would be even greater.”
Instead of protecting, improving, and sustaining Medicare—as he’s promised in his own words—Romney would take steps toward privatizing it. He believes in the power of vouchers more than he believes in keeping America’s full commitment to care for our senior citizens.