AUFC - Congressman Frank Guinta Breaks Campaign Promise to Protect Seniors

Guinta Embraces ‘Robin Hood in Reverse’ Republican Budget Plan That Voucherizes Medicare and Skyrockets Seniors’ Out-of-Pocket Costs, Raises Taxes on Average Working Families, Guts Nursing Home Care, Leaves Millions Uninsured, Makes College Less Affordable -- All to Pay for Huge Tax Breaks for Millionaires and Outsourcers

Washington DC – Tonight Congressman Frank Guinta (NH-01) helped fellow House Republicans pass an extreme FY2016 federal budget plan that would grind the economic recovery to a halt. During the last election season, Republicans like Guinta asked voters to trust them when it comes to protecting seniors’ earned benefits. Instead, Republicans delivered a budget that replaces the guarantee of Medicare with private insurance vouchers that don’t keep pace with health costs; a budget that takes a massive $900 billion bite out of Medicaid that could force many seniors and disabled Americans out of nursing homes; and a budget that would immediately hike seniors’ prescription drug costs by reopening the Part D donut hole – all to pay for a new $50,000 tax break for millionaires.  Republicans claim their plan ‘balances the budget’, but they neglect to mention it’s done entirely on the backs of seniors, the hungry, students, and working families and without asking corporations that ship jobs and profits overseas to contribute their fair share.

Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: “The GOP budget endorsed by Congressman Frank Guinta is a Blueprint of Broken Promises to seniors and a Roadmap to Ruin for millions of Americans who would lose their health coverage.  It’s a great deal for big health insurance companies, outsourcers and billionaires like the Koch brothers, but it’s a raw deal for everyone else. Republicans say their budget plan is “serious” and makes “tough choices” to balance the budget. The fact that they don’t close a single special interest tax loophole says otherwise. The fact they stuffed their budget with even more irresponsible tax giveaways to millionaires and outsourcers while hiking the average working family’s taxes by $2,000 shows that they aren’t serious at all. Never mind that they use Enron-style accounting gimmicks to cover up the fact they don’t come close to actually balancing the balance. 

“What is very ‘serious’, however, is the consequences of the GOP plan for seniors, the middle class and most vulnerable Americans. Congressman Guinta wants to immediately take away new prescription drug benefits under the health law that have already saved seniors billions of dollars. Without offering any replacement for the Affordable Care Act, Guinta would leave 16.4 million Americans uninsured and make legal again the worst wealth insurance industry practices dropping people when they get sick, deny care to kids born with “pre-existing” conditions, or charging women double the premiums men pay. At the same time Republicans offer Big Oil companies uninterrupted taxpayer subsidies, they want to Voucherize Medicare, gut Medicaid, freeze Pell Grants and slash food assistance for single parent families. Their priorities couldn’t be more mixed up.”

“When has robbing from the poor and middle class families to give to the rich ever been a recipe for a strong economy?  Ask President George W. Bush how well it worked out for him.  While President Obama’s policies have led to 60 straight months of private sector job growth, Frank Guinta wants to slam on the brakes and go back to the failed trickle-down policies that caused the Great Recession.”

BACKGROUND: GOP Budget Would Derail the Economic Recovery, Bring Back Failed Trickle-Down Economic Policies That Caused the Great Recession

Tax Breaks for the Wealthy, Tax Hikes for Average Families

Ø  Hurts families by green-lighting tax increases for the middle class to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires – Greenlights passage of the Romney-Ryan tax plan that would slash taxes for the wealthiest taxpayers on the backs of the middle class, increasing taxes on a typical working family by $2,000. [Budget Committee Democrats analysis]

Ø  CAP: “The House budget calls for lower tax rates for large corporations and individuals with business income, which would be a windfall for those at the top. Corporate taxes are mostly paid by the wealthy, with the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimating that the top 1 percent of households paid 48.7 percent of corporate income taxes in 2011. If a corporate tax reform package ended enough tax breaks, it would be possible to lower the corporate tax rate and reduce deficits at the same time, but the congressional budgets do not identify even a single tax loophole to close.” [Center for American Progress, 3.18.2015]

Ø  CBPP: The House budget would “Cut taxes by roughly $50,000 on average for people with incomes exceeding $1 million a year, but by less than $10 on average for those making $50,000 to $75,000, and by essentially nothing on average for those earning less than $50,000.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3.17.2015]

Ø “The proposals they specify would cut the tax bill of the average millionaire by more than $50,000, before even adding the proposed cuts to tax rates.  Meanwhile, the House Republican budget does nothing to prevent a tax increase on 26 million working families and students. And in the past, they have made clear they would let this tax increase happen – raising taxes by an average of $900 apiece for 16 million working families and by $1,100 for 12 million families and students paying for college.”  [, 3.17.2015]

Makes College Less Affordable

Ø  “The House budget “eliminates mandatory funding for Pell Grants and freezes the maximum grant at its current level, instead of allowing it to increase to keep pace with inflation, and makes other unspecified cuts to the program. Over time, this would reduce financial aid for almost all of the more than 8 million students who rely on Pell Grants to afford college.” [, 3.17.2015]

Ø  “Puts college out of reach for millions by slashing student grant aid -- freezing the maximum Pell grant and eliminating Pell grant increases -- in addition to cutting student loan benefits and letting the American Opportunity Tax Credit expire. It cuts current policy support for higher education by more than $220 billion.” [Budget Committee Democrats analysis]

Devastating Cuts to Medicaid, Kick Vulnerable Seniors and Disabled Americans Out of Nursing Homes

Ø  CBPP: “The combined Medicaid cut would reach $1.8 trillion over ten years, relative to current law, adding tens of millions of Americans to the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3.17.2015]

Ø “It block grants Medicaid, cutting resources for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program by more than $900 billion, on top of the impact of repealing the ACA coverage provisions. A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of a similar proposal in previous Republican Budgets found that as many as 20 million people would be denied the coverage they would have gotten under pre-ACA Medicaid.” [, 3.17.2015]

Ø  Block-grants nutrition assistance and Medicaid while imposing destructive cuts in both – Cuts $125 billion from SNAP over ten years, merges CHIP into Medicaid and slashes funding by roughly $900 billion over the next ten years. The cut to the base Medicaid program is 14 percent in 2017, rising to one-third in 2025. Slashing the safety net does not create jobs. All it does is put seniors, persons with disabilities, and poor children at great risk of hardship. [Budget Committee Democrats analysis]

Leaves 16.4 Million Americans Uninsured

Ø The House budget would “Take away health insurance from more than 16 million people who have gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act is working. Thanks to its coverage provisions, the share of Americans without health insurance is at or near historic lows – and these provisions are costing almost one third less than the (CBO) initially projected. … Beyond the effect on the millions who have gained health insurance coverage through the ACA Marketplaces or through Medicaid, the House Republican Budget would: Deprive up to 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions of the security of knowing they will still be able to buy affordable health coverage if they lose their jobs or otherwise lose their health insurance; Deny millions of young adults of the option to stay on their parents’ plans if they re-enroll in school or get a job without health coverage; and; Increase prescription drug costs for more than 4 million seniors and people with disabilities. [, 3.17.2015]

Leaves Current Seniors Paying More for Rx Drugs, Future Seniors Vulnerable to Reduced Medicaid Care and Higher Medicare Costs

Ø  “Everyone entering Medicare in 2024 or later will get a voucher to help pay premiums for either a private health plan or traditional Medicare. If a plan along these lines were in effect in 2020, the average Part B premium for traditional Medicare would be 50 percent higher than it would be under current law. Private plans in Medicare already employ strategies to “cherry pick” the healthiest enrollees. Such tendencies would get worse under premium support, putting sick and frail seniors in traditional Medicare at risk of skyrocketing costs and less access to care. The budget claims this plan will “save” Medicare’s finances, but it does not say how. Past analyses of such plans show that using a Medicare voucher program to dramatically reduce long-term federal spending inevitably means shifting the risk and burden of growing health costs onto senior citizens and persons with disabilities who rely on Medicare. [Budget Committee Democrats analysis]

Ø “For new beneficiaries starting in 2024, the House Republican budget would end Medicare as we know it by substituting guaranteed access to the traditional Medicare program with a voucher program, increasing costs for millions of seniors and forcing millions out of traditional Medicare, risking a death spiral as private plans siphon off healthier and less expensive beneficiaries. [, 3.17.2015]

Ø  “Increases costs to current seniors by repealing Medicare benefit improvements in the ACA. Since the ACA was enacted, 9.4 million seniors have saved more than $15 billion on prescription drugs, thanks to a provision in that law that closes the Part D coverage gap, or “donut hole”. [Budget Committee Democrats analysis]

Ø  “Cuts $125 billion from SNAP over ten years, merges CHIP into Medicaid and slashes funding by roughly $900 billion over the next ten years. The cut to the base Medicaid program is 14 percent in 2017, rising to one-third in 2025. Slashing the safety net does not create jobs. All it does is put seniors, persons with disabilities, and poor children at great risk of hardship.” [Budget Committee Democrats analysis]