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McDermott: ‘Republicans Have Always Hated Medicare’

Today’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Medicare was billed as an examination of how the health care reform law will impact the 45-year-old program that provides health care coverage for nearly 40 million seniors.

But Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) cut right through the smoke screen laid down by committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R- Mich.).

While today’s hearings is supposed to be about the new health care law’s impact on Medicare, it is really about taking the first step towards advancing Congressman Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future,” which would transform the Medicare system into a voucher program.
It would kill Medicare as we know it and force seniors to go out and shop around for health insurance with a voucher. Do Republicans really think that insurance companies are going to be jumping up and down to provide senior citizens with health insurance?

The latest attack on the Affordable Care Act comes as no surprise. The new House majority’s first act wasn’t addressing the broken economy or offering job creation proposals.  It was a vote to repeal the health care reform law and a vow to take it apart piece by piece and starve it by refusing to appropriate funds.

Pointing back to the vicious Republican opposition to Harry Truman’s first proposals for a health care law and the early 1960s fight to establish Medicare, McDermott said:

Republicans have always hated Medicare.

In written testimony, the Alliance for Retired Americans said repeal of the health care reform law would “negatively affect millions of older and retired Americans.”

The law strengthens the Medicare program, provides protections to millions of Americans against insurance company abuses, makes prescriptions more affordable and provides prevention and wellness screenings, all of which enhance the quality of life for our nation’s seniors.

Click here for the full testimony.

In statement about the hearing, AFSCME President Gerald McEntee said the law’s new benefits:

will not only keep seniors healthy and save lives, but can potentially save Medicare dollars over time.
AFSCME strongly opposes efforts to repeal or deny full funding for implementation of the health care law. If we want to ensure that all Americans, young and old, can rely on good health care in the future, the law must be upheld. If it is not, more and more Americans will lack the coverage they need with each passing year. Certainly, we don’t want to see the day when having health insurance is a luxury only for the rich–like driving a Rolls Royce or owning a house in Malibu.

Click here for the full statement.

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