Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday the GOP's "reckless" plan to end Medicare would deny Nevada seniors quality care while costing them thousands more each year.
In a phone interview, Reid said the plan would put "insurance company bureaucrats in charge of seniors' health care, allowing insurers to deny treatment and decide which doctor Nevada seniors use."
"They're ideologues about this budget stuff," he said. "We all know we have to rein in spending but we can't do it by putting the insurance company between patient and physician."
He said the plan by Rep. Paul Ryan of Minnesota would double out of pocket costs by 2022 and cost every Nevada senior an additional $6,400. He said it would reinstate the donut hole gap between the different parts of Medicare, a gap he said the health care reform legislation closed.
And it would end the wellness program allowing seniors to get annual check-ups for free.
"The interesting thing is the budget we got from them is hated by Republicans across the country," he said. "The vast majority of independents and Democrats hate it."
Reid said that doesn't mean there aren't improvements needed.
"Is there money that could be saved in Medicare? Of course," he said. "We did that last year. It saves a half trillion dollars."
"We extended Medicare for 12 years, filled the donut hole and improved the quality of care with wellness programs."
He said the Republican plan is simply too high a price to make Nevada seniors pay.
"Republicans need to get their priorities straight," he said. "We should be cutting the deficit by getting rid of the wasteful spending like billions in government giveaways to big oil executives, not balancing the budget on the backs of Nevada's seniors," he said.
The Republican plan is scheduled for a vote in the U.S. Senate this week.
Article Topics: Legislature: PERSLegislature: PERS