Press Release

May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today called the defeat of the Ryan budget in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 57-to-40  “a victory for America’s seniors and a clear message that Americans will not tolerate dismantling of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

The budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), which passed the House of Representatives in April, would jeopardize the health of seniors by reinstating the Medicare Part D coverage gap, and eliminating Medicare as we know it.  The Ryan plan would turn Medicare into a voucher program, doubling out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries, according to the Congressional Budget Office. 

“I believe Congressman Ryan’s plan would have killed Medicare and Medicaid, two of the most important programs in our nation’s history.  Medicare was created in 1965 because most seniors were unable to purchase health insurance at any price,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Finance and Budget committees.

 “Today, 775,000 Maryland seniors rely on Medicare for their health care needs.  To attack such successful programs is to try and undo the progress we have made in creating the largest, most secure middle class in the world.  It also risks putting seniors at the mercy of private insurance companies.”

The Ryan plan would also convert Medicaid, now a federal-state partnership, into a block grant to the states, reducing its funding by $770 billion over 10 years. CBO has estimated that these reductions would force governors across the nation to either raise taxes, reduce services — such as nursing home care — or cut people from the rolls.

In addition, the House-passed budget would reduce the marginal tax rate for millionaires and billionaires, extend tax breaks for oil companies and multi-national corporations that ship jobs overseas,   It also would extend the current freeze on federal wages and salaries to five years, shift funding for the Federal Employees Retirement System’s defined benefit from the employer to the employee, and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent.