(photo credit: Nick King, MDN)
Approximately 20 people stood in the cold to hear Margie Mitchell, executive director of the Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network, share concerns over the Ryan budget plan.
“I am very concerned because Camp has been supportive of the Ryan budget and I want to make sure that the people in his area work to educate him on what the outcomes could be and to really look into not being closed minded about how we approach this deficit,” she said.
How would the Ryan plan affect Medicaid?
“Medicaid is for the poorest in our country,” said Mitchell. “Medicaid is the way that they get their health care and in Representative Ryan’s plan, we block grant that to states that are already strapped for dollars and we cut the Medicaid budget at the federal level, what happens is, states will have no alternative but to either cut the number of people on Medicaid or cut the amount the providers receive, which is already very, very low, or cut benefits.”
Mitchell believes that seniors will be hit hard by the Ryan budget plan.
“Both parties want to decrease costs and do what’s right for the people of Michigan,” said Mitchell. “But the Affordable Care Act does it in ways that improves benefits for seniors and keeps the risk on all of the taxpayers. The Ryan plan transfers that risk in order to save money and not wanting to tax the wealthy anymore. It puts more risk on seniors, on individuals rather than all the taxpayers.”
Under the Ryan plan, Medicare recipients would get vouchers to buy insurance plans from private insurance companies.
“The voucher system could just be disastrous for seniors,”said Mitchell. “Vouchers never over the years have enough money for the increase in costs. That voucher would not grow every year, except for the cost of living and health care costs as you all know have been rising every year. That means every year they will have to pay more for seniors. So, (seniors) will not be in a position to afford the Medicare program.”
Mitchell is also concerned about the additional stress on seniors.
“The other problem is they have to go out into a very complex marketplace and find out what is best at a time when their mental capacities are decreasing,” said Mitchell. “They will be at the mercy of an insurance market that will not have their concerns in mind. They should be able to count on an insurance program that is there for them and meets their needs.”
“I’d love to retire someday and Social Security and Medicare are something that we’ve paid into for years and we should be able to get back what we paid for,” said Marjorie Mitchell.