Friday, 22 April 2011 00:00
Once again Representative Peter King totes the Republican line instead of voting for what’s best for his constituency. Last Friday saw the House of Representatives vote on Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget plan. All but four Republicans voted yes.
This is a budget that will destroy Medicare, as we know it. Ryan’s plan will replace guaranteed health insurance for the elderly and replace it with an underfunded voucher system for seniors to buy coverage in the much more expensive private market. Because the value of Ryan’s vouchers fails to keep up with the out-of-control rise in premiums in the private health insurance market, America’s elderly would be forced to pay more out of pocket or accept less coverage.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (a non-partisan agency composed primarily of economists and public policy analysts) Director Douglas Elmendorf, “Under the proposal, most elderly people who would be entitled to premium support payments would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system.”
What makes this vote by Representative King and his Republican party more disgraceful is the fact that the Republicans ran on a platform in November 2010 of terrifying seniors that the Democrats would make cuts to their Medicare. So now we have a Republican party that is not cutting Medicare but destroying it entirely.
The only winners of this voucher system of rationalized care will be the private insurance companies who donate heavily to Republican candidates. These insurance companies will have more customers, paying more for insurance and getting less coverage. Seniors as a group are a high-risk group so they will be charged exorbitant premiums in the private market but receive inadequate coverage.
Representative Peter King has done a great disservice to all of his constituents by voting yes on a budget that will destroy a plan which has dramatically reduced poverty among seniors for decades. His yes vote will create a somber future which may bankrupt many seniors as they struggle to pay for health costs while living on a fixed income. And to add insult to injury, this plan sneaks in a $1 trillion in tax breaks to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans–an extra $200,000 for every millionaire and billionaire in the country. While some people’s income has multiplied during the years, most Americans have seen their income decrease or become stagnant. If the Republicans believe this plan is necessary to control costs, how do you rationalize tax breaks that cut revenue?
So I must ask, who exactly does Representative Peter King represent?