Original Medicare, as I introduced it in my post Turning Alternative Facts to Actual Facts, was rolled out in 1965. We have Part A for hospital coverage, Part B for outpatient and doctor care. Most Medicare participants also choose to enroll in either a supplement plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan. that will pay for some costs that Original Medicare does not cover. Supplement coverage (sometimes called MediGap) has no insurance carrier network, but the doctors/hospitals have to accept Original Medicare. The supplement will cover the gaps in coinsurance (percentage of coverage by Medicare versus what you would be responsible for) and deductibles (first dollar costs that you are responsible for. Under a Medicare Advantage Plan, the insurance carrier will take on the risk and you are normally going to navigate within a local or regional network, sometimes with coverage for doctors who do not participate in the network. You would normally have copays if you are staying within the network.
Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Speaker of the House, has put forth a plan to
privatize Original Medicare. Speaker Ryan would replace the current
program with vouchers. It's interesting to see how so many people are
talking about 'vouchers' to replace what we have today. The healthcare
industry, as you can tell from my previous posts, is not easy to navigate.
It takes someone with the time and background to really figure out how to
make the system work for them. So, instead of providing more ease of use,
the voucher system would make seniors, in this case, more entangled in their
healthcare payment process. Why do you need to upend a system that has
worked for seniors and replace it with a privatized program?
The answer that we are given is that Medicare is on its last legs. It is
on life-support and we have to do something before it collapses and leaves
Granny Nan & PePa out in the cold.
Quick reality check: Medicare' has IMPROVED in the last couple of
years, not gotten worse. As a matter of fact, it is funded through 2029
and 79% funded through 2040, which can be made up without privatization. Medicare Trustees Report (page 29).
Medicare is one of the programs that will find a hard time getting
approval to change it, under the current Administration. It is also NOT
tied to the ACA issues. Remember, Medicare has been around since 1965.
The current Administration ran on a platform promising not to touch
One might argue that Medicare is an entitlement, but I disagree. An
entitlement is having a right to something or the belief that one is inherently
deserving of privileges or special treatment. We all pay into Medicare
while we work, and once we retire we have to pay into Part B Premiums. 2017 Part B Premiums
Seniors have a very strong voice and membership association in AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). They are 38 million members strong and they have the resources to fire
up their base. And let me tell you, don't screw around with their
healthcare, golf tee time or cruise ship schedule. Trust me, my mom would
be the first to tell me that! So let's not pull Part A & B away from
our loved ones, let's find ways to enhance the program to make it easier to
gain access to incentives for better outcomes within the healthcare delivery