INDIANAPOLIS – The McConnell tax bill is moving to a conference committee, but the billions of dollars of cuts to Hoosier seniors’ Medicare that would result from the bill Congressmen Messer and Rokita voted for are poised to remain in place.
The massive McConnell tax bill touches on countless aspects of our nation, including health care. Both the House and Senate bills would add up to $1.5 trillion to the debt. Such a spike would trigger Congress’ “pay-as-you-go” rules in an attempt to offset some of that new debt by automatically cutting $150 billion in spending every year for the next ten years.
While several programs are exempt from the rules, Medicare is not—meaning the automatic cuts would fall even harder on older Americans’ health care. The cuts can legally rise as high as four percent of Medicare’s entire budget. That means the program could lose as much as $25 billion in 2018 alone, and even more than that every year afterward, according to AARP.
The changes to the program would initially hit government payments to doctors and health care providers who treat Medicare patients. However, the cuts would quickly cause a shock to the entire system, as fewer doctors would treat such patients, quickly and severely limiting access to health care for older Hoosiers. This would quickly become a problem for all but the wealthiest retirees—thanks to the deficit-busting tax bill, by 2027, those Americans who earn $1 million or more would receive a $5.8 billion cut.
“Congressmen Messer and Rokita are blowing a trillion-dollar hole in the deficit to fund tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, and Hoosier seniors are going to pay for it,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Older Hoosiers have been paying into the system for decades with only one request for Washington politicians: don’t play games with their Medicare. Republicans like Congressmen Messer and Rokita who crossed them to vote for the McConnell tax bill will find out next November why they’ve been saying that.”