Privatizing Medicare


by Mary Jane Stern

Every few years when the federal budget is in trouble, talk begins about privatizing Medicare. Today it’s a hot topic.

Medicare, in my opinion, is one of the best and affordable healthcare programs we have here in the USA.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) is proposing a new program to replace today’s Medicare programs with vouchers and seniors would use these vouchers to purchase private health insurance. The Medicare programs as we know them today would end should this proposal pass.

What does this mean?

Government programs like Medicare would end for eligible seniors (also known as the elderly) and they would have to purchase health care insurance from private insurance companies. Private insurance companies are notorious for raising premiums and the Government is generally slow to raise value in entitlement programs. Remember there’s been no COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for 2 years, but premiums in various Medicare Programs have increased!

How it Would Work

In simple terms, the government would send you a voucher for a certain dollar amount and you would have to go out and find the best plan you could for the amount of money the government gives you.  That could really empty your wallet. Look at what the private insurance companies have done with the Part D premiums and copayments over the last few years. They keep on going up every year!

As you read this today and you are a senior enrolled in a Medicare program or becoming eligible, you won’t be affected.  In an article in the Huffington Post, Ryan’s proposal states:

“Current Medicare recipients would get to stay in the program. People within 10 years of eligibility – ages 55 to 64 – would also go into Medicare. But those now 54 and under would get a fixed payment from the government when they become eligible at age 65. They would be able to use the voucher to buy a Medicare-approved private plan from a menu of coverage levels and options.”

Does this mean if the voucher program is eventually passed, Medicare will actually end and
Social Security is privatized?

Young or old in the USA, health care is a major issue and concern to many people. Many cannot afford the expense and many States are finding the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.  What happens to the “pre-existing” condition clause? Will we lose that too?


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