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Monday, September 03, 2012

What You Didn’t Know About The Ryan Budget: It’s Devastating For Women

Republican Senate candidate Heather Wilson says she “admires” Mitt Romney’s new running mate Paul Ryan for his willingness to “put forth bold ideas” that would deal a severe blow to women’s economic security and access to health care.

“There are many reasons why the Ryan budget is bad for women, but chief among them is its disproportionate and devastating impact on the economic security of middle-class families and women’s access to health care,” said Whitney Potter, spokeswoman for Democratic Senate candidate Martin Heinrich.

The Ryan budget calls for radical policy changes that would impose deep cuts to many of the programs women rely on for important health services, including ending Medicare as we know it. Ryan’s budget would force seniors into a voucher program, and increase their health care costs by thousands of dollars each year.

These impacts would also disproportionately affect women, who account for the majority of Medicare recipients. Moreover, twice as many women over the age of 65 live in poverty as compared to men, making Medicare even more important to their ability to access health care. Increasing, the cost of services like mammograms and cancer screenings would put preventative health care farther out of reach for millions of women across the country.

Ryan’s extreme budget also includes a tax “reform” plan that would not only make the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, but cut them even further. Women are over-represented in the ranks of middle- and low-income earners, making this a significant blow to women’s economic security.

“The fact that Heather Wilson ‘admires’ ideas that would be devastating for women and middle-class families shows just how wrong her priorities are for New Mexico,” said Potter.

Heather Wilson says she admires Ryan’s willingness to put forth bold ideas. "Paul Ryan and I served together and I've always found that he's a decent, honest and smart man," Wilson said. "And I admire his willingness to put forth bold ideas on big issues, even if I don't always agree with him." [KOB Eyewitness News, 8/11/12]

Wilson’s implicit support for the Ryan Budget. In May 2011, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that, when asked about the Ryan Budget, Wilson responded, “I give [Ryan] a lot of credit for trying to have a serious debate about saving Medicare. Democrats have not offered one single idea to save Medicare.” [Santa Fe New Mexican, 5/30/11]

The Ryan budget would end Medicare as we know it, force seniors into a voucher program, increase costs. The Ryan Budget would replace traditional Medicare and its guaranteed benefits and instead give seniors vouchers to purchase private insurance or Medicare. The value of the vouchers would not keep up with the rising cost of health care. Once again, insurance companies would reap big profits as seniors would be forced to pay as much as $5,900 more for the benefits they have now. [CBO, 3/20/12; CBPP, 3/20/12]

The Ryan Budget will require that seniors pay deductibles, co-insurance, and copayments for many preventive services currently covered by Medicare; including cancer screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies as well as annual wellness visits. As a result, fewer seniors will access these preventive services, thereby dramatically increasing Medicare spending in the long-term. [CMS, 2/15/12]

Women account for the majority of Medicare recipients. Women constitute more than half of the individuals with Medicare. The program is therefore critically important to preserving the health and well-being of our mothers and grandmothers. Because women, on average, are poorer, live longer and have more health care needs than men, Medicare (sometimes combined with Medicaid) potentially plays a greater role for them in preventing illness and destitution. [NWLC, 5/23/11]

September 3, 2012 at 09:42 AM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Heather Wilson, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Women's Issues | Permalink