Statement of Debra L. Ness, Leader, Campaign for Better Care
WASHINGTON, D.C. — April 14, 2011 — "Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is poised to vote on a budget proposal authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would undermine many of the programs on which vulnerable older patients, their family caregivers, and seniors throughout the nation rely.
The Ryan budget proposal would cause grave harm to the oldest and sickest people in America today, and to those who will be older and sicker in years to come. We strongly urge the House of Representatives to reject it.
Rather than improving the quality and affordability of health care, this proposal would dismantle Medicare and Medicaid, widen the donut hole, and put Social Security at risk. There is certainly a better way.
Turning Medicare into a voucher program that leaves seniors to pay two-thirds of the costs of their care would effectively deny critical health services to those who need them most. This proposal would effectively renege on America’s commitment to its retirees.
Block-granting Medicaid is nothing more than a cost-shift to states that are already facing fiscal crises. Block grants would mean cutting reimbursement to doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies that would cause states to cut services and cause providers to limit the number of patients they see or withdraw from the program altogether. It would shift costs to those who can least afford it.
This is simply unacceptable. The Campaign for Better Care works to protect vulnerable older patients with multiple health problems and ensure that they can access well-coordinated, quality health care. This budget would make achieving those goals vastly more difficult.
We urge the House to reject it and instead focus on implementing the reforms that vulnerable older patients and their family caregivers need — initiatives like the Partnership for Patients, launched this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This new initiative can save billions of dollars at the same time it save s lives, prevent s injuries and unnecessary hospital readmissions, and improves patient outcomes. We urge Congress to put its energy into strategies that will improve — not undermine — care for those who need help the most."