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RepubliCare not even close to Congress’ health plan

One of the key talking points that Congressional Republicans are using to market their proposal converting Medicare into a voucher system is that the “reformed” plan would be comparable to what they receive in as members of Congress. But as the Washington Post points out today, uh, not even close.

The government pays 75% of health care costs for federal employees and members of Congress, but an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds that, by 2030, RepubliCare would pay just 32% of health costs and Medicare recipients would have to pick up the other 68%.

Despite overwhelming public opposition to RepubliCare, Washington state’s entire Republican delegation to Congress voted for it. And they are adhering closely to the script of its architect, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), in claiming it’s the same plan they get. In a recent opinion column, freshman Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA3) writes:

“It is similar to the health care plan members of Congress receive.”

But as the Washington Post explains in today’s Fact Check:

The focus on “a system just like members of Congress and federal employees have” suggests that this would be something better than the typical employee plan. But it will not have a key feature of the current plan — a promise that the government will pick up 75 percent of the health-care tab.

Indeed, the main reason for making the proposal is to help bring down health-care costs for the federal government and thus get a handle on the deficit. The CBO suggests this will be accomplished largely by shifting the costs onto beneficiaries

So hold onto your wallets, seniors (and all of you who hope to be seniors one day). If House Republicans have their way and replace your preferred health care plan, the government-run Medicare system, with private insurance coverage, you are going to be paying more. A lot more.

That’s because the federal “voucher” you receive to buy private insurance will be too skimpy to pay your premiums. The CBO estimates that by 2022 new enrollees would have to pay at least $6,400 more out of pocket to buy coverage comparable to traditional Medicare.

We’re guessing that if any of the House Republicans who voted for this proposal are still in Washington, D.C.,  in 2022, they won’t be paying 68% of their health costs — whether they’re still members of Congress or lobbyists on K Street.

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