FACT CHECK: Republican Leader Paul Ryan Personally Profits from Medicare-Ending GOP Budget Plan

Representative Paul Ryan (WI-01) this week held a Facebook town hall where he whined against Washington special interests using the federal tax code for personal benefit, just weeks after a Newsweek investigation revealed Ryan stood to profit handsomely from provisions in his own budget that ends Medicare. According to Newsweek, Ryan and his wife are currently leasing land to mining and drilling energy companies that are eligible for portions of the $45 billion tax breaks and subsidies that are protected in Ryan’s budget, which protects taxpayer handouts to Big Oil, but ends Medicare.

From Ryan’s Facebook Town hall: “Some corporations get off pretty well. Some companies have been very successful at getting provisions put in the tax code in Washington, so they don’t pay a lot in taxes. The rest of us aren’t so lucky,” said Ryan during a Facebook town hall forum designed to promote his political ambitions.

“I call it ‘crony capitalism.’ Where people in Washington, based on connections – what-not – special interest groups put provisions in the tax code that make someone win at the expense of everybody else.”

FACT CHECK:

Newsweek Uncovered Ryan’s Budget Conflict of Interest. “The congressman stands to make money from his stakes in four businesses that lease land to energy companies which would benefit from $45 billion in tax breaks and subsidies in his proposed budget. […] The financial disclosure report Ryan filed with Congress last month and made public this week shows he and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan. […] Some of these firms would be eligible for portions of the $45 billion in energy tax breaks and subsidies over 10 years protected in the Wisconsin lawmaker’s proposed budget. ‘Those [energy developing companies] benefit a lot from these subsidies,’ explained Russ Harding, an energy policy analyst with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, when presented with the situation, without reference to Ryan. ‘Without those, they’re going to be less profitable.’” [Newsweek’s Daily Beast, 6/17/11]

Wall Street Journal: Paul Ryan’s Budget Would “Essentially End Medicare.” “The 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]

Ryan’s Budget Would Deny 550,000 Individuals Access to Medicare in WI-01. According to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the House Republican budget would deny 550,000 individuals age 54 and younger in the Wisconsin’s first congressional district access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefit. It would increase health costs for 127,000 individuals in the district by over $6,000 per year in 2022, forcing those between the ages of 44 and 54 to save an average of $182,000 to $287,000 per person to pay for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes. [House Energy and Commerce Committee, 6/11]

Under Ryan’s Budget, 9,700 Medicare Beneficiaries in WI-01 Would Pay More for Their Prescription Drugs. According to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, under the Republican budget, “important benefits – such as closing the hole in Medicare’s drug coverage – would be immediately eliminated.” The Republican budget wouldIncrease prescription drug costs for 9,700 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay an extra $95 million for drugs over the next decade. [House Energy and Commerce Committee, 6/11]

Ryan’s Budget Would Eliminate New Preventative Care Benefits for 112,000 in the WI-01. According to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Republican budget would “eliminate new preventive care benefits for 112,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district.” [House Energy and Commerce Committee, 6/11]

Ryan’s Budget Jeopardizes Nursing Home Care for 1,900 People in WI-01. According to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Republican budget would reduce the federal contribution to Medicaid by nearly $800 billion over the next decade. It would reduce coverage for 12,800 dual eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities in the district, who rely on Medicaid to supplement their healthcare coverage. It would also jeopardize nursing home care for 1,900 people in the district whose expenses are paid by Medicaid. [House Energy and Commerce Committee, 6/11]

Ryan’s Budget Would Almost Double Healthcare Costs For Seniors. “The Republican congressman’s proposal to privatize Medicare would mean a dramatic hike in U.S. healthcare costs for the elderly, an independent analysis finds. Seniors would pay almost double — more than $12,510 a year.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/7/11]

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