The Feminist Majority strongly supports Medicare. Medicare is the nation’s health insurance program for 59 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. Half of all Medicare beneficiaries live on an annual per capita income of less than $25,200.

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 and was subsequently promoted by the Republican House Leadership. 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 health insurance 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 over time 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 Trump Administration Budget of 2019 follows the Ryan plans with a proposed 7.1% cut to Medicare by 2028 while making the massive cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations and a 22.5% cut to Medicaid and Obamacare subsidies by 2028 through repealing and replacing Obamacare. The Trump budgets also have a massive cut to the food stamp program and other social programs such as housing for disabled person and low-income individuals. Fortunately the Trump budget and Ryan Budget have little to no chance of passing. The House Republican budget would cut Medicare by some $537 Billion over the next ten years.

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.