Medicare is the nation’s health insurance program for 45 million Americans age 65 and older and younger adults with permanent disabilities. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half (56%) of all Medicare beneficiaries are women, and among the very old (85 and older) 70% are women. And because women are more likely to be low-income, Medicare is critical to women’s retirement security.

Feminist Majority opposes the “Ryan Budget,” a proposal from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that passed the House of Representative in March 2012. The Ryan Budget would raise the age of eligibility from 65 to 67, and would end Medicare as we know it for all individuals currently age 55 and younger by replacing Medicare’s current coverage guarantee with a flat, modest yearly voucher beginning at age 67 (to be used for the purchase of coverage, as if any company would sell to a sick, elderly person). Ryan would also reopen the “donut hole” in Medicare’s coverage of prescription drugs that would otherwise be closed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the plan also would likely lead to the gradual demise of traditional Medicare by making its pool of beneficiaries smaller, older, and sicker — and increasingly costly to cover.

The Feminist Majority strongly supports Medicare and supports the Affordable Care Act, which closes the “donut hole” for Medicare coverage of prescription drugs. We oppose raising the age of eligibility for Medicare.