Message: Below please find outline of current Medicare cost concerns as well as some history on the program as well as some plan options to cutting overall costs.
Medicare is facing a major financial crisis. The federal government subsidizes medical care for more than 45 million elderly and disabled Americans through Medicare. Medicare is the third-largest federal program after Social Security and defense, and it will cost taxpayers about $430 billion in fiscal year 2010. In the federal budget, Medicare is a fast-growing program, with spending likely to double over the next decade and to surpass Social Security spending by 2028. Several researchers suggest that approximately one-third of Medicare spending is misused. [ (Edwards, 2010) ] Even though Medicare is a welfare program, being charged co-payments and other additional fees, it’s clear to see why many elderly people may believe that it’s an insurance plan. Although it’s been known as welfare program, led by the government there is controversy regarding this. AARP Vise President, Joyce Rogers stated AARP is focused on protecting Social Security and Medicare for the millions of beneficiaries who have paid into the systems over their working lives. Rogers’ statement follows: “Medicare is not a welfare program. Seniors pay into Medicare their entire working lives based on the promise that they’ll have secure health coverage when they retire. Applying a means test for their earned benefits would erode the popular support that has sustained these programs for years and made them so effective in helping older households. “The small minorities of seniors who are wealthy also contributed more to these programs throughout their working lives, and continue to pay higher taxes in retirement to support them. Also, in contrast to plans for those under age 65, premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D already are pegged to income. “We believe the right way to strengthen Medicare is to improve the quality and lower the cost of care throughout the health care system. Simply shifting the bill to seniors would be like squeezing one end of a balloon – it does nothing to improve health care quality or combat the real problem of rising costs.” (AARP, 2011) With the never-ending debt of Medicare, many might wonder whether there should be a Medicare program at all. I say unquestionably. On July 30, 1965 President Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which provides medical coverage to a selected group of individuals within the American community Medicare is a federal insurance program, overseen by. These individuals include all people age 65 and older, disabled workers, and certain individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). There are currently three different parts to Medicare Coverage, some of which are optional. These three parts are called Part A, Part B, and Part C (Medicare + Choice) respectively.
Medicare Part A, commonly referred to as “hospital insurance” is mandatory and automatic once people reach the age of 65 and they or their spouses have paid Social Security taxes for approximately 10 years through employment. There is no premium that needs to be paid for Part A coverage, but one must meet the annual $792 deductible before Medicare will begin to cover services. A deductible being met refers to those monies that must be paid out of pocket by the beneficiary. Part A does not cover all aspects of healthcare for those persons who qualify. According to the Public Policy Institute Data Digest published by AARP, Medicare Part A coverage includes: Inpatient hospital care up to 90 days per spell of illness and 60 additional days per lifetime Skilled nursing facility care for 100 days per spell of illness following at least a 3-day hospital stay Intermittent home health care up to 100 visits per spell of illness following at least a 3-day hospital...
Cited: AARP. (2011, July 18). AARP to the President: “Medicare is not a welfare program.". Retrieved November 6, 2011, from AARP: http://www.aarp.org/about-aarp/press-center/info-07-2011/aarp-medicare-not-welfare-program.html
C. Millett, C. J. (Aug. 2010). "Impact of Medicare Part D on Seniors ' Out-of-Pocket Expenditures on Medications," . Archives of Internal Medicine , 1325–30.
Edwards, M. F. (2010). Downsizing the Federal Government. Retrieved November 6, 2011, from Cato Institute: http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/hhs/medicare-reforms
Lonchyna, S. J. (n.d.). The Evolution of Medicare and Medicaid Services. Retrieved November 6, 2011, from http://www.cwru.edu/med/epidbio/mphp439/Medicare_Medicaid.htm
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