If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have their way, then Americans of all ages may be spending more on health care during their retirement.
If Romney becomes president and repeals the Affordable Care Act as promised, then retirement would cost $11,100 more for the average 65-year-old and $18,600 more for the average 55-year-old because of higher Medicare premiums and drug costs, according to a report from Harvard economist David Cutler, an Obamacare architect, and the Center for American Progress.
What's more, seniors on Medicare who depend on Medicaid would need to pay more than $2,500 more per year because of planned Medicaid cuts.
Romney's plan would cost younger Americans even more, since Romney and Ryan want to turn Medicare into a voucher system for Americans under 55 for when they qualify for Medicare. The report estimates that 48-year-olds would have to pay $124,600 more for Medicare during retirement under Romney's plan, 39-year-olds would have to pay $216,600 more during retirement, and 29-year-olds would have to pay $331,200 more during retirement in total. That's because the vouchers would not keep up with rising health care costs. For those 29-year-olds, the extra costs would consume 62 percent of their lifetime Social Security benefits.
Romney's plan also would make health care more expensive for the seniors that need it the most. Since healthier seniors would likely choose private insurance plans, which would be cheaper for them, the sicker seniors that opt for traditional Medicare would be forced to pay an estimated $29,000 more during the course of their retirement, according to the report.
For his part, Romney claims that the Affordable Care act is a tax increase and hurts job creation at small businesses. He also claims that more competition among health care plans would lead to lower premiums.
But the promise of lower premiums is a fantasy, according to Peter Orszag, a former budget director for President Obama. Orszag recently said that Ryan's plan relies on the "health care competition tooth fairy" and would shift costs to consumers from the government, rather than reducing costs overall.