SHELLEY BERKLEY CELEBRATES MEDICARE’S 47TH BIRTHDAY WITH NEVADA SENIORS

Shelley Joins Nevada Seniors In Celebrating The 47th Anniversary Of Medicare Being Signed Into Law By President Johnson In 1965

At Birthday Party, Shelley Vows To Always Fight To Protect And Defend Medicare From Attempts To Turn The Program Over To Private Insurance Companies

While Shelley Fights For Medicare, Senator Dean Heller “Proudly” Voted Twice To End Medicare As We Know It

LAS VEGAS — Today, U.S. Senate candidate Shelley Berkley celebrated the 47th birthday of Medicare with Nevada seniors at the East Las Vegas Senior Center. At the birthday party, Shelley and Nevada seniors discussed the importance of Medicare in their lives, and why Shelley is the only candidate who can be counted on to fight to protect and preserve Medicare. Medicare was signed into law by President Lyndon Baines Johnson 47 years ago in 1965.

While Shelley has spent her time in Congress fighting to protect Medicare, her opponent, Senator Dean Heller has “proudly” voted twice to end Medicare as we know it by turning the program over to profit-hungry private insurance company bureaucrats. Under the plan Senator Heller supports, Nevada seniors would see their health care premiums rise by $6,000 and would pay $15 million more in prescription drugs costs this year alone.

See the attached photos from the event, including the “Happy Birthday Medicare” cake that was served.

“Fighting for Nevada seniors must be a top priority and that’s why I’ve consistently fought to protect and preserve Medicare,” said U.S. Senate candidate Shelley Berkley. “While I’ve always fought to protect Medicare, my opponent, Senator Dean Heller, voted twice for a plan that would essentially end the program by turning it over to profit-hungry private insurance companies, increasing costs while putting a private insurance company between a patient and their doctor. This plan is unacceptable, and is just one example of why Dean Heller’s agenda of putting Wall Street over Nevada middle-class families is dead wrong.”

Background:

Berkley Voted Against Restructuring Medicare Into A “Premium Support” System. In 2012, Berkley voted against adoption of the concurrent resolution that would provide $2.793 trillion in new budget authority for fiscal 2013, not including off-budget accounts. It would assume significant future savings by restructuring Medicare into a “premium support” system beginning in 2023, converting Medicaid and the food stamp program into block grants to states, and repealing the 2010 health care overhaul. The budget resolution was adopted 228-191. [H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12]

· Paul Ryan’s Budget Would “Fundamentally Transform Medicare,” Effectively Ending It By Changing It To A Voucher System. According to Families USA, “On March 20, 2012, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled the House Republican budget proposal for 2013. Like the Republican budget proposal for 2012, it is radical in scope. It transforms Medicare by privatizing it, converting it to a voucher program, which will require seniors to pay more and more as they get older…The House Republican budget proposal fundamentally transforms Medicare. Today, Medicare offers a guaranteed set of benefits to all eligible seniors and people with disabilities. Under the proposal, Medicare becomes a ‘premium support’ (better known as a voucher) system. Seniors and people with disabilities would receive a fixed amount of money to purchase health insurance through private plans or traditional Medicare, and each year, the portion of the premium that would be paid by Medicare would get smaller and smaller and the portion paid by seniors would grow larger and larger.” [FamiliesUSA, 3/20/12]

Berkley Voted Against Republican Budget Blueprint For FY 2012 That Ends Medicare As We Know It. In 2011, Berkley voted against the House Republican budget blueprint drafted by Paul Ryan that effectively ends Medicare. It calls for converting Medicare for persons currently younger than 55 into a “premium support system” through which the government would pay private insurance companies directly for each enrollee. In April 2011 the Wall Street Journal wrote, “The [Ryan] plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” The resolution was adopted 235-193. [H Con Res 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11; Wall Street Journal,4/4/11]

Berkley Voted To Protect Social Security and Medicare Benefits from Privatization. In 2011, Berkley voted in favor of a measure that would have prohibited continuing appropriations funds for fiscal year 2011 for being used in developing or implementing a system that cuts Social Security benefits or that privatizes Social Security. The amendment also prohibited funds from being used to develop or implement a system that cuts Medicare benefits, eliminates guaranteed health coverage for seniors or establishes a Medicare voucher plan that limits payments to beneficiaries in order to purchase health care in the private sector. The motion failed 190-239. [HJR 48, Vote #178, 2/15/11]

Heller Said He Was “Proud” To Vote Twice To End Medicare As We Know It By Turning It Over To Private Insurance Companies, Increasing Seniors’ Premiums By $6,000 And Increasing Prescription Drug Costs.

In May 2011, Heller Said He Was Proud To Be The Only Member of Congress Who Will Get to Vote for Ryan Budget Twice. In February 2011 the Associated Press wrote, “Once Heller joins the Senate, Reid could call up for a vote the House budget blueprint that the chamber passed last month. The nonbinding plan would cut $6.2 trillion from yearly federal deficits over the coming decade. The plan makes changes to Medicare and Medicaid that some Democrats say would prove unpopular in next year’s elections. ‘I’m not worried about it. I voted for it once. I’m not going to come over here and vote against it,’ Heller said. ‘I’m proud to be the only member of Congress who will get to vote for it twice.’” [Associated Press,5/3/11] (Emphasis added)

HOUSE: Heller Voted For Paul Ryan Budget Plan That “Would Essentially End Medicare.” In April 2011, Heller voted for the House Republican budget blueprint drafted by Paul Ryan, H Con Res 34, that the Wall Street Journal said “would essentially end Medicare.” According to the Associated Press, “The GOP proposal passed 235-193, with every Democrat voting “no.” The nonbinding plan lays out a fiscal vision cutting $6.2 trillion over 10 years from the budget submitted by President Barack Obama. It calls for transforming Medicare from a program in which the government directly pays medical bills into a voucher-like system that subsidizes purchases of private insurance plans.” The resolution was adopted 235-193. [H Con Res 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11; Associated Press,4/15/11; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]

SENATE: After Being Appointed to The Senate, Heller Voted Again For Paul Ryan’s Plan. In May 2011, after being recently appointed to the Senate, Heller voted for a motion to proceed to H Con Res 34, the House Republican budget blueprint drafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The motion was rejected 40-57, with five Republicans voting no. [H Con Res 34, Vote #77, 5/25/11]

Wall Street Journal: GOP Plan Would “Essentially End Medicare.” In April 2011 the Wall Street Journal wrote, “The [Ryan] plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]

Non-Partisan CBO: Paul Ryan Plan Would Double Seniors’ Out-Of-Pocket Costs, Increasing By Over $6,000.In April 2011the LA Times wrote, “The Ryan budget plan would cut federal spending on Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, and begin distributing money by block grant to states. The plan would do away with Medicare’s direct payment for health care for seniors, replacing it with a voucher system in which recipients choose private insurers. The Congressional Budget Office found that part of the plan, which would take effect in 2022, could nearly double out-of-pocket costs for seniors.” According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “CBO also finds that this beneficiary’s annual out-of-pocket costs would more than double — from $6,150 to $12,500. In later years, as the value of the voucher eroded, the increase in out-of-pocket costs would be even greater.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/16/11; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/7/11]

26,767 Nevada Seniors Would Pay $15 Million More For Prescription Drugs In 2012 Alone. On day one, 26,767 Nevada seniors would pay more for prescription drugs. In 2012, these seniors would pay $15 million more and by 2020, they would pay $299 million more. [Democrats.Senate.gov,4/14/11]

Bloomberg: Paul Ryan’s Budget “Would Benefit Private Insurers.” In April 2011 Bloomberg wrote, “Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposal to end traditional Medicare for future generations would benefit private insurers, whose employees have given the Wisconsin Republican more money than any other industry.” [Bloomberg, 4/6/11]

Ryan Budget Would Turn Medicare Over To Private Insurance Companies, Who Would Reap A “Windfall Of Unprecedented Proportions.” In April 2011 Wendell Potter, a former insurance company executive, wrote in the Huffington Post, “Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare would accelerate a trend started several years ago by corporate CEOs and their political allies to shift ever-increasing amounts of risk from Big Business and the government to workers and retirees. If enacted, the Ryan plan would represent a windfall of unprecedented proportions for insurance corporations and other businesses… Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, wants to dismantle the Medicare program and replace it with a system of vouchers. Starting in 2022, the government would give the average 65-year-old Medicare beneficiary $8,000 a year to buy coverage from a private insurer. That’s the amount health care analysts estimate will be what the Medicare program will spend on every 65-year-old in 2022 if the government doesn’t turn it over to private insurance companies. While that might sound fair on the surface, it would actually be a very bad deal for people who turn 65 that year, compared to those who turn 65 in 2021.” [Huffington Post,4/21/11]

Heller Has Voted Consistently To Protect Tax Breaks For Companies That Shop Jobs Overseas.

Heller Voted For Foreign Corporations’ Tax Loopholes Over First Responders’ Health Care. In September 2010 Heller voted against HR 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. According to Congressional Quarterly, “The House backed legislation on Wednesday that would establish a compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, despite concerns over paying for it by curtailing a corporate tax break. In a vote of 268-160, the measure (HR 847) passed the House and now moves to the Senate, where using the tax break to offset the bill’s billions in costs is expected to be an issue. Currently, the bill would be paid for with revenue generated from placing limits on a tax rule that allows foreign-based companies to use tax treaties to shift income outside the United States and avoid higher tax rates…Under the measure, the Department of Health and Human Services would run a 10-year program to treat and monitor those who have medical problems that resulted from exposure when the 2001 attacks occurred or during subsequent debris removal. The program also would research conditions that may be related to the exposure, as well as diagnostic methods and treatment. Enrollment would be capped at 25,000 patients at any time. First responders, construction workers and residents who lived near Ground Zero would be eligible, as well as responders to the attack on the Pentagon and the plane crash in Shanksville, Pa.” The bill passed, 268-160. [CQ Today, 9/29/10; HR 847, Vote #550, 9/29/10]

Heller Voted Against Preventing Layoffs of Teachers, Extending Increased Medicare Assistance To States – Paid For By Closing Loopholes For Companies That Ship Jobs Overseas. In August 2010 Heller voted against legislation that would prevent teacher layoffs and extend increased Medicare assistance to states by closing tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas. In August 2010 the Las Vegas Review-Journal described the bill as “a $26 billion bill to rescue cash-starved states contemplating layoffs to teachers and other public employees. For Nevada, the legislation promises $83 million to bolster school budgets and $79 million to cushion a shortfall in state spending on health care for the poor…” According to the Department of Education, the bill would fund approximately 1,400 Nevada education jobs. The bill would be paid for in part, according to the Washington Post, by “end[ing] tax breaks for some multinational corporations that are based in the United States but have operations and pay taxes abroad. Closing those ‘loopholes,’ as Democrats call them, is the centerpiece of a House Democratic campaign to promote domestic manufacturing and discourage companies from shipping jobs overseas.” [HR 1586, Vote #518, 8/10/10; Las Vegas Review-Journal, 8/4/10; Department of Education,8/6/10; The Washington Post, 8/5/10]

Los Angeles Times: “In a sign of how heavily deficit concerns have come to weigh on this Congress, the bill is fully paid for mainly by ending some tax breaks for companies operating overseas, as well as by imposing an earlier end to a food stamp program.” [Los Angeles Times, 8/11/10]

Washington Independent: “It raises one tax — closing a loophole that encouraged big companies to hire overseas workers — and otherwise rescinds funds from federal programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps … The tax increase is minor, and stops encouraging big companies to ship jobs overseas.” [The Washington Independent, 8/11/10]

Heller Voted To Protect Tax Loopholes For Companies Outsourcing Jobs. In 2010, Heller voted against cracking down on companies that take advantages of loopholes in the foreign income provisions of the tax code which makes it more profitable for them to outsource jobs. According to Congressional Quarterly, “The bill would place new limits on companies’ ability to use foreign tax credits, because Democrats say that current tax law provides an incentive to move jobs to foreign countries. ‘It pays for the creation of those jobs by saying that those who outsource those jobs can’t get off the hook and have to pay their taxes,’ said Robert E. Andrews, D-N.J.” The bill passed, 215-204. [CQ Today, 5/28/10; HR 4213, Vote #324, 5/28/10]

Heller Voted Against Closing Tax Loopholes for Companies Shipping Jobs Overseas. In 2010, Heller voted against the Small Business Tax Relief Act, repealing a section of the health care reform bill that required small businesses to file a 1099 form to the IRS for payments of more than $600 to any vendor during a tax year. According to Congressional Quarterly, “The largest offsets would place new limits on the ability of U.S.-based companies to use certain foreign tax credit transactions to lower their tax liability. Business groups have been lobbying heavily against the proposals, and even though they have passed the House before, they have stalled as part of broader tax bills in the Senate. Democrats argue that current tax law provides incentives for companies to move jobs overseas.” [CQ Today, 7/30/10; HR 5982, Vote #514, 7/30/10]

Heller Voted to Allow Companies to Send Tax Revenue Abroad. In 2010, Heller voted against stopping companies from sending tax revenue to other countries to avoid paying taxes. The provision required U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies to pay taxes they could previously avoid by sending the funds to another country. The provision was expected to raise $7.7 billion over 10 years. The provision paid for a $16.8 billion package that would help small businesses grow and hire more workers by extending Build America Bonds and extend tax incentives for to encourage small business formation. The bill passed, 246-178. [CQ Today, 3/24/10; HR 4849, Vote #182, 3/24/10]

Heller Has Voted Nine Times To Protect Tax Breaks For Big Oil Companies Making Record Profits.

Heller Voted At Least NINE Times To Protect Tax Credits For Big Oil Companies. [Vote 63, 3/29/12; Vote 72, 5/17/11; Vote 153, 3/01/11; Vote 649, 9/26/08; Vote 78, 2/27/08; Vote 80, 2/27/08; Vote 1140, 12/06/07; Vote 835, 8/4/07; Vote 40, 1/18/07]

Las Vegas Sun: “Heller Has Been Protective Of The Current Tax Code, Which Provide Breaks To Oil And Gas Companies.” [Las Vegas Sun, 3/27/12]

Big Oil Companies Made A Combined $137 Billion In Profits in 2011, Up 75% from 2010. According to the Center for American Progress, “General economic theory holds that companies will produce more of a good if its price is higher, or if it receives subsidies. Funny that these rules didn’t seem to apply to Big Oil in 2011, when the highest oil price since 1864 and $2 billion in subsidies to the five largest oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell—yielded lower oil production than in 2010. But these five oil companies combined made a record-high $137 billion in profits in 2011—up 75 percent from 2010—and have made more than $1 trillion in profits from 2001 through 2011. This exceeds the previous record of $136 billion in profits in 2008.” [Center for American Progress, 2/7/12]

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