Repubocrats and the bankster's austerity plan -the wheels keep turning---http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110406/ap_on_re_us/us_republican_budget_health_careBig health cost shift to elderly in GOP plan
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR and ALAN FRAM, Associated Press – 35 mins ago
WASHINGTON – Partisan divisions hardened Wednesday around the new House GOP budget, hailed by backers as a sobering correction for the nation's spending binge, and denounced by critics as an attack on health programs for middle-class retirees and the poor.
A report from the Congressional Budget Office provided added fodder for critics, after nonpartisan experts concluded most future retirees would pay considerably more for health care under the GOP approach — which turns Medicare into a voucher-like plan for those now 54 and younger.
The sweeping fiscal plan by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would reduce total federal spending, deficits and debt, saving money for federal taxpayers. But it would be tempered by a cost shift to future retirees.
At hearing on his plan Wednesday, Ryan said that with sky-high deficits, the government needs to limit its mission to things that are truly needed.We don't want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls people to lives of complacencies and dependencies,
into a permanent condition where they never get on their feet," he said.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Budget Committee Democrat, said Republicans are protecting tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and the poor."It doesn't reform Medicare, it deforms and dismantles it,"
Van Hollen said of the GOP's budget. As for Medicaid, the budget "rips apart the safety net" for poor and older people, he added.
Ryan's plan would put people now 54 and younger in a different kind of health care program when they retire, unlike the Medicare that their parents and grandparents have known. Instead of coverage for a set of benefits prescribed from Washington, they'd get a federal payment to buy private insurance from a choice of government-regulated plans.
"A typical beneficiary would spend more for health care under the proposal," the budget office estimated in its analysis.
The findings could turn into a big political headache for Republicans, who relentlessly criticized Medicare cuts in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul as part of their strategy to win back control of the House last fall. According to the analysis, the new GOP plan would leave most of those cuts in place.
Republican leaders want to move the budget quickly through the House, with committee passage expected late Wednesday. It will likely hit a dead end in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Ryan calls his Medicare idea "premium support." Critics call it the voucher plan.
The GOP budget comes with other major health care changes:
• Obama's health insurance expansion to more than 30 million people who now lack coverage would be repealed.
• Medicaid, the federal-state program that covers low-income and severely disabled people, would be converted into a block grant program that gives each state a lump sum to design its own insurance plans. But the poor no longer would have a right under federal law to health care.