LANSING – State Representative Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) today introduced a resolution in the Michigan House of Representatives urging the U.S. Congress to oppose a proposal to drastically reform the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs.

“It’s a shame how Republican lawmakers on both the state and federal level are trying to shift such a heavy burden to our seniors,” Dillon said. “As if it wasn’t enough that Republican leaders in Michigan already raised taxes on our seniors and cut important services they rely on, now our seniors have to worry about paying more for the health care they need. Many of our seniors are living on a fixed income and can’t afford the cost of their prescriptions to skyrocket. I strongly urge our federal lawmakers to stand up for our seniors and oppose this.”

A proposal introduced in Congress earlier this year by Republican lawmakers would eliminate the traditional Medicare program for individuals under the age of 55 and replace it with a voucher system for purchasing private insurance. The plan would also convert Medicaid into a block grant program.

Dillon is calling on federal lawmakers to support Michigan seniors by opposing the plan, which would force more than 97,700 Michigan seniors to pay $55 million more for their prescription medications next year, according to estimates by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It could also cause more than 37,000 Michigan seniors to pay more than $3.8 million more for annual wellness care. Estimates also show that the proposed federal plan will more than double out-of-pocket health care costs for seniors over 65 by 2022, or by an average of $6,880.

The proposed reforms could also cost Michigan more than 49,000 private-sector jobs over the next five years, which will put an even greater burden on our families and our economy.

“While there are signs that Michigan’s economy is turning the corner, we can’t afford to lose a single job,” Dillon said. “I hope that lawmakers in Washington will do the right thing for our seniors, our workers and our state.”