Paul Ryan’s budget bankrolls itself

So far in the 2012 election cycle, insurance industry and HMO interests have given at least $14 million in campaign contributions to U.S. House members who voted for the Ryan Medicare privatization plan according to a new report from Health Care for America Now and Public Campaign Action Fund.

From the top of the ticket on down, federal candidates who supported the Ryan plan received nearly twice as much insurance industry campaign cash as those who voted against it. Romney has received $2.7 million from insurance interests this cycle alone. Representative Tom Latham received $114,400 in 2012 for his re-election effort.

Ryan’s plan, endorsed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, would end Medicare as we know it and leave seniors without protection from soaring out-of-pocket medical costs while increasing insurance company profits by $16 billion to $26 billion in 2030, the report found. Campaign donations from these insurers have disproportionately gone to the House members, including Latham, who support the Ryan Medicare scheme. The pattern raises questions about whether Latham is working for his constituents or for campaign donors from big insurance companies and Wall Street.

“Medicare works for seniors, and Tom Latham ought to be working to protect Medicare and Medicaid, the two programs we depend on most for health care at the most vulnerable time in our lives,” CCI Action Fund member Robin Ghormley said in a statement. “Instead of helping insurance CEOs make more money and collecting campaign contributions for doing it, Congressman Latham ought to be representing current and future retirees in his district.”

The Ryan plan to privatize Medicare would raise the cost of health care for seniors by more than $6,000 a year and replace the guaranteed Medicare benefits counted on by seniors with a voucher to buy a health plan from a private insurance company. The voucher is designed to grow at a slower pace than medical costs, leaving seniors to make up the difference by emptying their pocketbooks.


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