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Akaka votes against Ryan budget


U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka voted to oppose the budget authored by Representative Paul D. Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and passed by the House of Representatives.

It was defeated Wednesday in the Senate by a vote of 40-57.

“This budget would be devastating to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens – seniors,” Akaka said. “Our kupuna are dealing with rising medical costs and decreased access to quality health care. We cannot pass a plan which places the profits of insurance companies ahead of the well-being of our seniors, while eliminating thousands of Hawaii jobs in the process. We need to reduce our deficit responsibly, not by cutting benefits that our seniors need to survive.”

In Hawaii alone, the Ryan budget proposal would have:

* Ended Medicare, thereby increasing out-of-pocket health care costs for a typical 65 year-old Hawaii senior by $4,209 in 2022 – more than double the cost under current law

* Forced at least 4,600 Hawaii seniors to pay more than $486,600 more for annual wellness visits in 2012

* Cost 26,300 Hawaii seniors a total of $15 million more for prescription drugs in 2012 alone

* Caused the loss of 7,300 private-sector jobs over the next five years by turning Medicaid into a block grant program

* Cut $1.6 billion in federal health care funding for seniors and the disabled through Medicaid, including life-saving nursing home care

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