When insurance firms launched social media initiatives, the results were rewarding.
DES MOINES, Iowa, April 9 -- The Iowa Democratic Party issued the following news release:
The GOP Senate candidates like to talk a big game when it comes to cutting the deficit and balancing the budget. Former Goldman Sachs executive Mark Jacobs says he has all the right "tools." Joni Ernst, who has supported U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan'sGOP budgets previously, infamously claims she knows how to cut pork. And Whitaker says he could take us to a balanced budget by making cuts that "we all agree on."
But what you rarely hear from the GOP Senate candidates are details--probably because they plan to follow the same Republican blueprint that has been rejected by Iowans time and time again. This blueprint, detailed in the GOPbudget released last week by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), would be devastating for Iowa's seniors, women and families:
* Turns Medicare into a Voucher program and force Iowa seniors who want to remain in the program to pay an additional 50% on premiums; Currently nearly 440,000 Iowa seniors are on Medicare
* Increase prescription drug costs for 46,339 Iowa seniors by re-opening the prescription drug "donut hole"
* More than 600 fewer victims of domestic violence in Iowa would be served through the STOP Violence Against Women Program
* Allows health insurance companies to deny women coverage for a pre-existing condition (including having a history of pregnancy or being a survivor of breast cancer) and to charge women as much as 85% more for coverage just for being a women
* Raises Taxes on the Middle Class by $2,000, giving Millionaires A Tax Cut Of Over $87,000 Each.
The policies are unsurprising, since they are all supported by the out-of-statebillionaire Koch brothers who are trying to buy Iowa'sU.S. Senate seat. So where are the GOP candidates who all desperately want the Koch brother support?
"When Iowa's GOP Senate candidates and Washington Republicans say they want to cut spending, what they really mean is they want to raise health costs for seniors so they can pay for tax breaks for millionaires," said Iowa Democratic Chairman Scott Brennan. "These reckless policies--which remove health security for Iowa's seniors, women and families--have been rejected by Iowans before, and they will be rejected again. The continued silence of self-proclaimed budget saviors Joni Ernst, Mark Jacobs and Matt Whitaker signifies at best a refusal to stand up for Iowa's families, and at worst a tacit support for this irresponsible budget."
With Paul Ryan due in Iowa on Friday, we'll see if the silence from the Republican candidates continues.
GOP BUDGET BAD FOR IOWA'S SENIORS
Ends the Medicare Guarantee & Increases Premiums by 50% - Everyone entering Medicare in 2024 or later will get a voucher to help pay premiums for either a private health plan or traditional Medicare. Under this plan, average premiums for traditional Medicare will be 50 percent higher than current law. Furthermore, seniors electing to stay in traditional Medicare and avoid buying private insurance will pay $1,200 more than seniors in private plans. Private plans would be permitted to tailor benefit packages to attract healthier beneficiaries and leave the sicker, more expensive patients for Medicare. Over time, Medicare would become less financially viable and would have to raise premiums, driving away more healthy beneficiaries and setting off a premium spiral that could unravel the program. [House Republican Budget Chairman's Mark, 4/1/14; CBO, 9/13/14; Census, 2010; CAP, 4/1/14; DPCC, 3/13/13; CBPP, 3/15/13]
Nearly 440,000 Iowans are currently on Medicare (http://kff.org/medicare/state-indicator/beneficiaries-by-eligibility-category/)
Forces 46,000 Iowa Seniors to Pay Average of $1,200 More Per Year for PrescriptionDrugs through 2022 - By repealing health reform, the Koch budget would re-open the "donut hole," forcing seniors to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs if their yearly drug expenses are more than $2,970 for the year. Under the GOP budget, seniors reaching the prescription drug "donut hole" would pay an average of $941 more in prescription drug costs in 2015 and approximately $11,918 more from now through 2022 (an average of $1,200 more per year). 46,300 Iowa seniors who have benefited from the closure of the donut hole would be affected under the budget. Over 37 million seniors would be forced to pay more for preventive health services. [House Republican Budget Chairman's Mark, 4/1/14; CQ, 4/1/14; HHS, 9/17/12; CMS, accessed on 4/1/13; WH, 4/8/14]
Could Jeopardize Seniors' Benefits And Doctor Access: Unlike traditional Medicare, seniors electing to use their voucher to purchase private insurance could lose access to benefits and the provider of their choice. According to the Congressional Budget Office, private plans could "control costs by influencing the quantity and type of services provided, or tighten provider networks (that is limit the number of providers to be covered by a plan)." [House Republican Budget Chairman's Mark, 4/1/14; CBO, 9/13/14; CAP, 4/1/14]
Slashes Over $475 Billion In Nursing HomeCare And Other Services: The GOP budget could cut more than $470 billion from nursing home care and other health care services for seniors and the disabled across the country. Nearly 15 million seniors and disabled rely on Medicaid for their long-term care needs, and the Koch budget Medicaid cuts could impact the 15,465 certified nursing homes that serve nearly 1,370,000 seniors and disabled. These deep cuts could force nursing homes to slash services or turn away seniors. [House Republican Budget Chairman's Mark, 4/1/14; Kaiser Family Foundation, accessed on 4/4/14; Kaiser Family Foundation, accessed on 4/4/14; Kaiser Family Foundation, accessed on 4/4/14]
GOP BUDGET BAD FOR IOWA WOMEN
? Jeopardizes Services ForMore than 600 Iowa Victims Of Domestic Violence: The STOP (Service, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women program provides grants to states to coordinate the criminal justice system's response to violent crimes against women. Under the Koch budget, more than 600 fewer victims of domestic violence across Iowa would be served under the program. [WH, 4/8/14]
? Eliminates Health Care Rights For Women: By repealing the Affordable Care Act, the GOP budget eliminates health rights that are critical to the economic security of women across the country. The Koch budget takes away rights American women are already enjoying:
Allow insurance companies to deny millions of women coverage for a pre-existing condition, including "a history of pregnancy, having a C-section, being a survivor of breast or cervical cancer, or having received medical treatment for domestic or sexual violence." [NWLC, 5/16/13]
Permit insurance companies to charge women as much as 85% more for coverage just for being a women, costing them approximately $1 billion more a year.
27 million women will be forced to pay more for life-saving preventive health care services, including mammograms, birth control, and cervical cancer screenings. [ASPE, 3/13]
Nearly 9million women will lose maternity coverage [ASPE, 2012]
Over 2.3 million women will lose health insurance purchased through the Marketplaces. [ASPE, 3/11/14]
Nearly 7 million women will lose tax credits to help them purchase health coverage the Marketplaces.
Over 7 million women will lose access to coverage under Medicaid, according to estimates of all women eligible for the expansion.
? Slashes Medicaid By $6.5Billion in Iowa, Jeopardizing Women's Jobs. The GOP budget would block grant Medicaid funding to states and repeal health reform's Medicaid expansion, cutting the program by $1.5 trillion over ten years; $6.5 billion in federal funding for Iowa could be cut under the block grant proposal alone. These cuts not only jeopardize critical health benefits currently provided to nearly 39 million women across the country, but could also significantly impact the 3 million women working as doctors, nurses, and health care workers. According to the National Women's Law Center, "Budget cuts to federal Medicaid spending would threaten these critical positions -ranging from doctors and nurses to the lower-wage health care jobs such as nurse's aides and home health care workers that are predominantly filled by women. Since nearly 80 percent of Medicaid-supported health sector jobs are held by women, cuts in Medicaid spending would be especially devastating to women." [House Republican Budget Chairman's Mark, 4/1/14; National Women's Law Center, 12/2/12; WH, 4/8/14]
GOP BUDGET GOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES
Raises Taxes On The Middle Class By $2,000, Giving Millionaires A Tax Cut Of Over $87,000 Each. The Koch budget proposes to lower tax rates for high-income earners from 39.6% to 25%, which would require the middle-class to pay more in taxes in order for the budget to balance as proposed. A Tax Policy Center analysis of a similar proposal found that the tax reductions for high-income earners would cost $5.7 trillion, making it mathematically impossible "to enact Rep. Ryan's tax policies in a deficit-neutral tax reform without including big tax increases for low- and middle-income taxpayers." Taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million would receive an average net tax decrease of over $87,000, according to a White House analysis. In order to pay for these tax breaks, the Koch budgetwould raise taxes on middle class families with children by an average of at least $2,000. [House Republican Budget Chairman's Mark, 4/1/14; New York Times Editorial, 4/01/14; TPC, 3/15/13; TPC, 8/1/12; CTJ, 4/2/14;WH, 4/1/14; WH, 4/8/14]
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