SCRANTON, PA—U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), today met with Pennsylvanians to discuss a new report indicating that out-of-pocket health care costs would more than double for Medicare beneficiaries under the budget plan passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in April.
“This new report shows just how costly the Republican plan would be to individuals and families who depend on Medicare,” said Senator Casey. “Pennsylvanians are concerned about the proposed Republican plan, and rightfully so. Future Medicare beneficiaries would be burdened with skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs, and current beneficiaries would lose critical preventive services like mammograms.”
“I was planning on relying on Medicare,” said Ed Farrell, a 51-year-old Scranton native who attended the meeting. “The increase in out of pocket costs might put me under the poverty level. If they start changing it now, who knows what’s going to happen ten or fifteen years down the line.”
Senator Casey was joined by Mary Gaffney, Interim Director of the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging, and Kate Koehler of the Monroe County Area Agency on Aging to discuss the JEC report released today.
Senator Casey also heard from Pennsylvanians who are happy with their current Medicare benefits, as well as future recipients who are worried that the Republican plan would prevent them from receiving adequate health care in retirement.
The JEC report found that under the proposed Republican plan, out-of-pocket costs for health care will skyrocket from $6,100 to $12,403 for Pennsylvania Medicare beneficiaries when the plan take effect in 2022. Current beneficiaries would not be immune to the change – prescription drug costs would rise and preventive services would be cut in the near term.
The Republican plan would end Medicare in its current form by replacing it with a government-funded voucher program for individuals to buy private insurance. The vouchers would not keep pace with rising health care costs, and individual expenses would more than double.