During the 2010 campaign, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell falsely charged that with the Affordable Care Act President Obama was "sticking it to seniors." McConnell's GOP was rewarded for that fiction, as a 21 point margin among voters 65 and older propelled the Republicans to an overwhelmingly victory in the midterms.
Now just two years later, it is Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney who will really be sticking it to seniors. His Obamacare pledge to "kill it dead" will erase hard-won health protections today's elderly have gained under the ACA. Romney's proposal to slash Medicaid spending by more than a third over the next decade and give what remains as block grants to the states could jeopardize nursing home care for millions of Americans. And as the Congressional Budget Office and a new Kaiser Family Foundation study confirmed, the Romney-Ryan plan to "voucherize and privatize" Medicare will invariably lead to much higher costs for future recipients.
That's the word from the Kaiser analysis, which examined the impact if a Romney-Ryan style voucher plan was implemented today. (Note that Romney's premium support proposal only applies to future Medicare beneficiaries, those now 55 or younger.) As Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post explained:
What Kaiser did was pretty simple. Its researchers modeled what would happen if seniors received a set amount from the government to pay for their Medicare benefits. That check would be equal to second-lowest bid from a private, Medicare Advantage plan. That's the same benchmark used in the Ryan Budget, Romney-Ryan proposal and the Domenici-Rivlin proposal.
That was step one. Step two was looking at whether that check would cover the cost of providing Medicare benefits under the traditional or private plans, in a given area. For 59 percent of seniors, it wouldn't: 25 million seniors would pay more for their current benefits if the government enacted this premium support model right now.
But that figure understates how the pain of Romney's Medicare gambit would be felt geographically. While nationwide 27 percent of seniors would face monthly premium increases of $100 or more, in high-cost states like Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey the figure tops 90 percent (see map above).
If the Kaiser study helped answer how many American seniors would pay more for health insurance under President Romney and Vice President Ryan, the Congressional Budget Office explained how much.