The 2010 health care law cut Medicare reimbursements to hospitals and insurers, not benefits for older Americans, by that amount over the coming decade. But repealing the savings, policy analysts say, would hasten the insolvency of Medicare by eight years — to 2016, the final year of the next presidential term, from 2024.How much would those costs go up?
While Republicans have raised legitimate questions about the long-term feasibility of the reimbursement cuts, analysts say, to restore them in the short term would immediately add hundreds of dollars a year to out-of-pocket Medicare expenses for beneficiaries.
Marilyn Moon, vice president and director of the health program at the American Institutes for Research, calculated that restoring the $716 billion in Medicare savings would increase premiums and co-payments for beneficiaries by $342 a year on average over the next decade; in 2022, the average increase would be $577.The reason why premiums and co-payments would go up under Romney's plan is common sense: by increasing payments to providers, Romney's plan drains the Medicare trust fund more quickly than the president's plan (which also has the virtue of already being law). That money needs to be made up somehow, so to keep the same level of coverage, Medicare beneficiaries would be on the hook for the difference.
But as obvious as this is, Romneyland professes ignorance:
“The idea that restoring funding to Medicare could somehow hasten its bankruptcy is on its face absurd,” said Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign.As is so often the case with Romneyland, that is exactly wrong: reducing spending on Medicare extends its solvency. To suggest otherwise is on its face absurd.