published Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Area Republicans vote to overhaul Medicare

WASHINGTON, D.C. — If the region’s Republican lawmakers get their way, major changes are in store for the nation’s historical safety nets for elderly and low-income citizens.

Before recessing for the next two weeks, the GOP-dominated U.S. House voted to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid on a party line vote of 235 to 193.

The GOP leadership failed to garner a single Democratic vote for their bill, but every Republican in Tennessee and Georgia supported it.

Members of the GOP claim the vote was about saving the country from an unsustainable financial burden imposed by the rising costs of Medicare.

“There’s a crisis here. You can’t sustain Medicare the way it is,” said Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., who is on the committee that drafted the controversial bill.

“What we’re trying to do is save Medicare so that the current seniors have good Medicare and so does the future of our country,” she said.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama preemptively lashed out against the GOP proposal.

He says the changes to Medicare would on average cost seniors $6,000 in out of pocket expenses, while the tax provisions in the Republican budget will drop the highest individual tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent — saving million and billionaires hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

In a contentious floor debate, House Democrats echoed the commander-in-chief.

“It forces seniors to pay — to buy their insurance from the health insurance companies where the average senior would be forced to pay twice as much for half the benefit,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a speech on the House floor.

The region’s Republicans note the legislation won’t impact anyone who is currently 55 or older. But it would be a sweeping change for anyone who doesn’t meet that threshold.

“I am committed to protecting senior citizens,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. “But what we have got to do is to look at how these programs as to how they are going to affect younger people.”

The bill also would turn Medicaid into a block grant program, undoing federal mandates currently required for states to be eligible for federal funding.

As for the politics of the divisive vote, the region’s delegation says they’re ready for the heat to come from outside interest groups, their Democratic opponents, and many citizens who polls show are mostly satisfied with Medicare the way it is.

“You’ll get attack ads no matter what you try to do, especially if you try to do the right thing,” said Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga.

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isaacsimmons16 said...

Search on the web "Wise Medical Insurance" if you have a condition such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, cancer, depression or have had an injury, like a broken leg and need health Insurance NOW.

April 16, 2011 at 1:30 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

I want my money back, GOP! For all of our working lives, we have paid payroll taxes so we would have safety nets when we get older or in need. It is a regressive tax so the rich don't pay their fair share, but the poor and middle class do. Now you want to keep this $2.3 Trillion and not keep your end of the bargain. That's malarkey.

I want my money back now. Thanks for the "Road to Ruin" Fleischmann. Please send the American people their money within 30 days.

April 16, 2011 at 7:17 a.m.
ceeweed said...

Your Republican lawmaker's votes are brought to you by the following corporations: BC/BS, Chubb, Cigna, United Health Care and all the fine people of Big Pharma...sandyonsignal you should change your name to sandyonpoint because you couldn't be more correct!

April 16, 2011 at 9:29 a.m.
mella_yella said...

All those who voted republican have themselves to thank. This is the republican history and legacy since Nixon. Screw the poor and middle-classes.

April 16, 2011 at 11:30 a.m.
EaTn said...

All those Tennessee Reps in the House who voted for this bill will be haunted by it between now and next election--guaranteed. When you start shafting folks who've paid into the Medicare system all their working lives because you don't want to touch the wealthy tax breaks, they won't forget it.

April 16, 2011 at 5:01 p.m.
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