Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ryan's plan devastates his own 1st District

Andrew Romano of Newsweek, writing for The Daily Beast, takes a look at what Paul Ryan's Path to Properity would mean for his 1st Congressional District constituents. For many of them, it would be the Road to Ruin:

...the Path to Prosperity would eventually force the 90,776 Medicare recipients currently living in Wisconsin's First Congressional District, or a full 13.5 percent of Ryan's constituents, to shell out a lot more for insurance, or to accept less bang for their buck. The federal government’s budget problem, in other words, would become a family budget problem...

Esther Osmond is a good example. Current estimates show that by 2030, Osmond, an 86-year-old resident of Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, would be paying about 25 percent of her premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Under Ryan’s plan, however, her share of those costs is projected (again, by the CBO) to soar to 68 percent. At that point, Wisconsin seniors like Osmond would have a choice: either buy a Medicare-caliber private plan, which the CBO estimates would cost more than double the projected price of old-fashioned Medicare, or cut back on how comprehensive their insurance is. Reached by phone, Osmond didn’t need to hear the details of Ryan’s proposal before delivering her verdict. She knew them already. “I think it’s crazy!” she shouted. “And that’s about all I think!” Then she hung up.

Then there's Medicaid:

[A]ccording to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation ... by 2021, Washington would be sending Wisconsin 42 percent less Medicaid money than projected under current law ($4.9 billion versus $8.5 billion); the CBO, meanwhile, estimates that Medicaid cuts would reach 49 percent by 2030, on average.

In Ryan’s district, this would amount to an estimated annual cut of $360 million—which, in turn, would affect not only the 101,500 poor, disabled, and elderly area residents who currently rely on Medicaid for coverage, but many of his other constituents as well. Faced with such a massive shortfall, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services would have to restrict services, limit enrollment, and lower payments to health-care providers—or fill the new funding gap by raising taxes and slashing other state programs. (Kaiser estimates that between 513,000 and 786,000 Wisconsinites would fall off the Medicaid rolls by 2021; proportionally, about 60,000 to 93,000 residents of Ryan's district would be among them.)
It's not just Medicare and Medicaid recipients who would suffer. Other cuts in his district resulting from Ryan's budget:

District-wide federal spending on bridges and roads would drop by more than 37 percent, or $4.5 million, by 2021; at the same time, federal support for R&D would fall by roughly $600,000—a 28 percent reduction. The biggest short-term cuts, however, would hit WI-1's public-school system, which would watch its federal funding plummet 53 percent over the next eight years, from $72 million to $34 million.
There's much more. Read it here.

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