In most elections it seems that an expected topic is scaring seniors about Medicare…i.e.,vote for the other guy and he will take away your Medicare. This year’s election will be no exception. So, I thought it might make sense to review the facts about each parties’ proposal. I will start with the President’s plan. Part II will cover the Wyden/Ryan plan.
Actually, the President’s plan isn’t a plan, it is already the law under Obamacare.
Under it, Medicare Advantage programs are eliminated. Currently some 25% of seniors are enrolled in that program. And, over ten years, $716 billion will be removed from Medicare’s “assets”, and those funds will be used to pay for health care for people other than seniors. In other words, $716 billion in taxes that all workers have paid into Medicare to cover their future health care when retired, will now be spent by the government on someone other than those who are retired, or who will eventually retire. The President accomplishes this reduction in Medicare spending with two provisions of Obamacare.
Under the first provision,
[t]he Affordable Care Act pegs Medicare spending to the growth of the economy plus 1%…
So, if, for example, the economy grows at the rate of 3% in any given year, Medicare spending can only grow by 4% the following year. This is spending cap is implemented by the second provision.
A bureaucratic panel of 15 men and women will enforce the cap by decreeing how medicine should be practiced and how doctors and hospitals are organized.
If the spending cap is exceeded, the panel [the Independent Payment Advisory Board], has two tools at their disposal to solve the problem. They can either reduce the payments Medicare makes to health care providers for services, or reduce the services provided by Medicare. In either event, the decision of the Board is not appealable…to anyone.
Under the first “tool”, some say that more and more doctors will simply choose not to accept Medicare as payment, and thus, only the rich will be able to afford the doctors’ fees. Under the second “tool”, some say that if a service is needed and Medicare will not cover it, only the rich will be able to afford the needed service.
What do you say?