Seniors Be Damned: Social Security & Medicare

By: Meredith Kelly

How do Paul Ryan’s signature budget proposals hurt America’s seniors? Let us count the ways. Ryan would privatize Social Security, in addition to making massive cuts to the program. His budget would “essentially end Medicare,” according to the Wall Street Journal, while reopening the prescription drug “donut hole” and jacking up premiums for seniors by as much as fifty percent.


2014: Ryan Said He Wanted To Reform Social Security So Americans Could Invest “A Generous Portion Of Their Social Security” In The Stock Market. “I wanted to reform Social Security in ways that would give young people the same opportunity. Instead of inheriting a stack of IOUs, Americans would be able to place a generous portion of their Social Security taxes into a personal retirement account that Social Security would invest in the market.” [Paul Ryan, The Way Forward, published 8/19/14]

CBPP: Ryan’s 2010 Budget Plan Would “Institute Large [Social Security] Cuts” And Divert Social Security Funds To Private Accounts. “Rep. Ryan describes his plan as strengthening Social Security and making it permanently solvent. An examination of his proposal shows, however, that it would institute large cuts in traditional Social Security benefits, use most of the resulting savings initially to help fund private accounts, and compensate the Social Security trust fund with large general-fund transfers.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/07/10] 

Wall Street Journal: The Ryan Budget “Would Essentially End Medicare.” “The budget has been prepared by Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and the new chairman of the House Budget Committee […] The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]

Ryan Budget Would Re-Open The Medicare Prescription Drug Donut Hole. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, “Among other elements, the House GOP budget would repeal: The provisions that closed the ‘doughnut hole’ in Medicare Part D.” [Bipartisan Policy Center, 3/12/13]

Ryan Budget Voucher Plan Would Increase Medicare Premiums for Seniors by 50 Percent. “While Rep. Ryan uses a different formula than in past budgets to set the value of the voucher, it would still make traditional Medicare increasingly unaffordable for senior citizens. Higher out-of-pocket premiums for traditional Medicare would force seniors into private plans, where they may not have access to the doctors they want to see. The Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, previously found that under a premium support plan, premiums would increase by 50 percent for traditional Medicare.” [Center for American Progress, 4/01/14]