(Representative Joe Heck) – America’s debt continues to fuel the uncertainty our job creators say is preventing them from hiring more workers and revitalizing Nevada’s economy. The Republican budget proposal addresses the debt problem by returning government spending to responsible levels, strengthening programs bound for bankruptcy, and eliminating tax loopholes.
The mixed reaction this proposal is causing isn’t surprising because I know some people don’t see a problem with massive debts and bankrupt-bound programs.
I’m also not surprised by the amount of misinformation about this proposal. When it was released, I said the temptation to score political points would be too great for some. They would claim this proposal destroys Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and they would attempt to scare Nevadans nearing retirement. That prediction is now a reality.
However, I am surprised by the amount of misinformation that is treated as fact. The most common piece of misinformation I hear is: The budget proposal will eliminate Medicare. That is completely false. Here are four facts regarding Medicare in this budget proposal to help set the record straight.
First, every person 55 years old, or older, is completely exempt from any changes to Medicare in this proposal.
Second, changes in this proposal do not make Medicare a voucher system. In fact, they implement patient-centered solutions and make Medicare just like Medicare Part D, the only government health program ever to come in under budget.
Third, even President Obama said Medicare will be bankrupt in 2029 if left unchanged from how it is today. That is just 18 years from now, and a bankrupt program cannot serve the taxpayers who paid into it.
Fourth, the changes in this proposal provide greater benefits to individuals who are poorer and sicker, and fewer benefits to individuals who are richer and healthier.
Taxpayers deserve a responsible government, those nearing retirement deserve to know their expected benefits will continue to be there, and our children deserve to see today’s benefits for seniors protected for their future. They deserve a solvent Medicare. This proposal shows us one way to help ensure this program is preserved for hard-working Nevada families.
However, this proposal is not the only way to save Medicare, and it might not even be the best way, but we must start this important discussion.
The second most common piece of misinformation I hear is: This budget keeps special tax breaks for big companies. That is also completely false.
This proposal calls for fundamental corporate tax reform that scales back the deductions, loopholes and carve-outs that are distorting the corporate tax code.
The job-killing economic uncertainty created by Washington’s wasteful spending is amassing a debt our children and grandchildren simply can’t afford. This budget proposal is a bold starting point to change that by returning government spending to responsible levels, saving programs bound for bankruptcy, and eliminating tax loopholes.
(Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican, represents Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House.)