Our seniors are concerned about the future of Medicare – and rightly so. Washington has made deep cuts to the program that will reduce their access to care and leave future generations without this important safety net.
The health care law enacted in 2010 was paid for in large part by cutting Medicare to the tune of $716 billion. The largest of these cuts came from massive reductions in payments to hospitals and other health care providers who provide our seniors with medical care. Worse, these cuts did nothing to prevent Medicare from going bankrupt. In fact, under current law, Medicare is still expected to go bankrupt in just 12 years. That means that our parents are experiencing cuts now, and our children cannot count on the program being there when they retire – even though they are already paying into it.
That is not what Hispanic seniors or any senior want for their parents or their children. We can and must do better.
The Romney/Ryan ticket is committed to making sure that none of these three things happen. Mitt Romney has promised to restore the funds that were cut out of Medicare, and he has a plan to protect and strengthen Medicare for today’s seniors and for future generations.
Democrats are going all out with their usual fear tactics, but do not let them fool you. The Romney/Ryan plan makes no changes to Medicare for those who are on the program today or for those who will enroll in the next 10 years.
Future generations will have a system that works similar to the one Members of Congress have today. Seniors will be able to choose from a list of guaranteed-coverage, Medicare-approved health plans. This list will also include the traditional Medicare program that exists today. Medicare will provide each senior with financial support to help offset the cost of a plan. This support is tailed to each senior with more for the sick and the poor and less for the wealthy. Under Governor Romney’s plan, seniors – not Washington bureaucrats – get to decide what plan is best for them.
Since all beneficiaries will have a choice of standard Medicare or private plans, private plans will have to be more cost effective than standard Medicare in order to attract any enrollment. This means that insurance companies will have to compete against each other to provide the best plan at the best price, which will cause health care quality to improve while costs decline.
Unfortunately, bipartisan efforts to ensure the sustainability of Medicare have been stopped in their tracks, because of political pressures and lack of executive leadership.
Regardless of what the other side says, the new Romney/Ryan plan is, in fact, good for seniors as well as for future generations. Medicare’s survival will be assured, no Medicare beneficiary will be deprived of the high quality health care they deserve, and individuals will have both choices and control of their health care. That is what all Americans expect and deserve.
Seniors must understand the facts and look past the rhetoric. When they do, it will be clear to all that Mitt Romney is the only candidate in this presidential race with the commitment and a serious plan to fix Medicare.
Josefina Carbonell, Former Assistant Secretary for Aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.