Romney/Ryan Healthcare Plan: The Wrong Prescription for America

As healthcare providers on the frontlines of the nation’s healthcare system, we witness the daily impacts of unmanaged and unaffordable care. We see how protecting Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for the millions of Americans can sometimes mean the difference between life and death, financial security and emotional devastation.

If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan carry out their vision to dismantle Medicaid and Medicare and to repeal the benefits of the Affordable Care Act then senior citizens, people with disabilities and working families with children will lose. The Romney/Ryan healthcare plan would:

More than 58 million seniors, people with disabilities and children rely on Medicaid services today, and millions more will qualify for Medicaid when the provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect in 2014.

While Medicaid is often thought of as a program for the very poor, it funds healthcare for nearly two-thirds of all older Americans in nursing homes. The Romney/Ryan budget calls for $ 810 billion in cuts to Medicaid.

In addition, senior’s healthcare costs would double under Romney/Ryan. For example, in ten years, 65-year-olds would be forced to pay twice as much for care than they would under current Medicare: $ 12,500 compared to $ 6,150. 2

Robert Chu, an SEIU Healthcare member and home care provider for his mother in Vancouver, Washington, understands what’s at stake. His mother had two strokes in 2004, then suffered a heart attack in 2007 and suffers from other health problems– diabetes, high blood pressure. It’s never just one thing. When Robert’s mother had her first stroke, she didn’t have healthcare. He maxed out all of his credits cards to the tune of about $ 12,000. Robert and his partner, with whom he has a four-year-old child, are both also legally blind. Like Robert, far too many working families are struggling to difficult choices in this tough economy: putting gas in the car, cutting back on groceries, to managing rising healthcare costs.

The Affordable Care Act, thankfully, makes healthcare coverage more secure by ensuring that working families cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, or lose their coverage or be forced into bankruptcy if a family member gets sick. Romney and Ryan would take away all of these existing benefits and much more. Today Robert knows that if his family faces an unexpected healthcare crisis, they won’t have to mortgage away their lives. With only 10 weeks until Election Day, November 6, let’s make sure that we can echo the messages of those at the Democratic National Convention and on the Doctors for America Patients Over Politics Tour so we can help move the country forward with strong healthcare policies that take the burdens off the backs of seniors and the middle class.

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